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South Carolina 18’s Continue Quest for Glory in Little Rock (Updated 6-25)

June 22, 2009 01:47 PM

(Wednesday June 24, 2009) Cal Hilsman of Spartanburg and Chip Cox of Myrtle Beach have advanced to the quarter-final round at the Burns Park Tennis Center in Little Rock, Arkansas. Cal defeated Henry Jang-Milsten of Georgia 6-3, 6-2 and will face local favorite Mario Martinez of Maumelle, AR. Mario, a 9 seed pulled off the upset of the tournament so far, as he defeated top seeded Anderson Reed of Alabama 6-7, 6-3, 6-1.

Chip Cox, continued his own upset run, knocking off his third seeded opponent in a row. Today’s victim was Robert Verzaal of Louisiana. Chip needed three sets to finish off the fifth seeded Verzaal 4-6, 6-1, 6-4. Cox will face the number 3 seed, Vikram Hundl of Alpharetta, GA in the 9:30am match tomorrow. Chip, despite winning the 18 crown at the Palmetto Championships, came into this Southern Closed tournament unseeded. He has continued to frustrate his seeded opponents with his ferocious two handed shots off of both sides. Many of the spectators have commented on Chip’s style, all coming up with basically the same conclusion: that they had seen players with two handed shots from both sides before, but nothing like this. It really does look like a full cut baseball swing when he hits the ball! If Cox and Hilsman should win their matches tomorrow, they would face each other in the semi-finals.

In the Feed-in consolation (FIC) bracket, Connor Evins continues his Cinderella run as he won both of his matches today, one on the court over Andy Bedeck of Georgia 6-2, 6-2. The other by way of a walkover, as his afternoon opponent, Roman Cacha, had to withdraw from the event due to an illness. We all hope that the stage coach doesn’t turn into a pumpkin tomorrow, as Evins must face the number one seed Anderson Reed of Alabama who was just upset in the main draw.

In the Girls tournament, the last hope in the main draw went down today, as Alex Martin of Mt. Pleasant was defeated by Caroline Price of Georgia 6-1, 6-2. She will fall into the feed-in consolation bracket and face Brooke Hawthorne of Atlanta in an 8:00am match. The only other hope for the South Carolina ladies is Molly O’Koneiwski of Hilton Head. Molly won both of her matches in the FIC to advance. She will play Maria Mira of Louisiana in another 8:00am match. Molly, also a Palmetto Champion from earlier in the month, will be facing a very tough opponent in Mira. She has been rated a blue chip recruit by tennisrecruiting.com. Molly who is still only 16, trains at the Smith Stearns Tennis Academy in Hilton Head. We wish Molly the best of luck in this big match tomorrow.
Other girls that saw their last action of the tournament today from the Palmetto State were Stephanie Cox, Katie Fosnacht, and Alrissa Tobe. Fosnacht’s match was a heartbreaker as she was defeated 11-9 in the match tie-break.

(Tuesday June 23, 2009) Four South Carolina players are still in the main draw, without a loss, heading into Wednesday’s round of 16 action at the Burns Park Tennis Center in Little Rock, AR. Alex Martin of Mt. Pleasant is the lone girl left in the main draw for the Palmetto State, as she had a great win over Sarah Wikowski of Georgia 6-4, 6-3. She will face another Georgia player in the next round. Caroline Price, a 5 seed from Duluth, will take on Alex in an 11:30am match on Wednesday. Molly O’Koneiwski, of Hilton Head, ran into a buzz saw, as she had to face the top seed Alexandra Anghelescu of Georgia. Molly fought hard but was defeated 6-2, 6-1. She will face Rachel Daniel of Georgia in the feed-in consolation.
Three other SC ladies are still alive in the feed-in consolation draw; Stephanie Cox, Katie Fosnacht, and Alrissa Tobe all survived two matches in the grueling heat to keep their hopes alive. They will have to do the same today if they are to remain here for another day in Little Rock.
In the Boys tournament there are 3 left in the main draw. Seeded players Bobby Browning and Cal Hilsman both won in straight sets to advance to the round of 16. Unseeded sensation, and Palmetto Championship winner, Chip Cox continues to stun the Little Rock spectators with his two-fisted shots from both sides, as he rolled through Will Reynolds of Tennessee 6-2, 6-2. All 3 guys will take to the courts at 11:00am on Wednesday. Connor Evins of Greenville, another unseeded South Carolinian, had his glory run hit a speed bump, as he went down in defeat to the number 5 seed Grant Roberts of Kentucky 6-3, 6-3. Connor will start his feed-in consolation run against Andy Bedeck of Georgia. According to South Carolina coach Mark Smith, “Connor is quite possibly the most improved player in our State.”
For all the scores and results go to tennislink.com and enter tournament id # 703302109.

(Monday June 22, 2009) Of the 23 South Carolina players that began their quest for the Southern Closed Championship in Little Rock, Arkansas, 18 still remain in the tournament. The Palmetto State has 4 boys and 2 girls still in the main draw without a loss. Seeded boys, Bobby Browning and Cal Hilsman, saw their first action on Monday. Browning had to gut out a tough 3 setter, outlasting John Shubel of Cary, NC 4-6, 6-2, 6-3. While Cal Hilsman breezed through his match against Bryan Haywood of Georgia 6-1, 6-1. Both Chip Cox of Myrtle Beach and Connor Evins of Greenville upset seeded players in straight sets to advance to the round of 32. In the feed-in consolation round there are three South Carolinians remaining. Joel Cook, Dave Fosnacht, and Randall Heffron must win to stay in when they take to the courts on Tuesday morning.

Alex Martin and Molly O’Koneiwski, the two seeded young ladies from SC, both survived their first matches in the oppressive afternoon conditions. Alex made quick work of Kichinye Didia of Brandon, MS 6-0, 6-1. While Molly needed 3 sets, and some words of wisdom from her coach and 2008 Wilton McKinney Award winner, Zach Sprouse, during the break to outlast Rebecca Bailey from Little Rock. There are nine other ladies from SC that are “still alive”. But, they must win their early morning matches on Tuesday if they want to stick around Little Rock. Stephanie Cox, Katie Fosnacht, Corin Hallman, Maria Hesketh, Jordan Lazarus, Kristina Mathis, Ariel Strong, Alrissa Tobe, and Lauren Trumbull all will be facing elimination when they take to the courts.

See pictures below...

(Sunday June 21, 2009) The South Carolina girls dominated the singles action at Little Rock at the Southern Closed 18’s Championships. Seven of the Palmetto State young ladies are still in the main draw, without a loss, while the other five female athletes are still alive in the feed-in consolation round. Katie Fosnacht, Maria Hesketh, Kristina Mathis, Lauren Trumbull, and Alrissa Tobe all advanced with Straight set victories. Alex Martin and Molly O’Koneiwski, our two seeded girls, will see their first action tomorrow at the Burns Park Tennis Center.
The guys had a tougher day, as their matches were all afternoon starts. The temperature in Little Rock hit the high 90’s, with the heat index hitting 110, making on-court temperatures near 130. The two unseeded players to survive the grueling afternoon conditions were Chip Cox of Myrtle Beach who outlasted fellow South Carolinian Josh Cook. And, Connor Evins of Greenville pounded Elliot Minvielle of Louisiana 6-3, 6-2. Connor’s ball striking was on fire, as his crisp ground strokes frustrated Minvielle in the sweltering heat. Both Bobby Browning and Cal Hilsman, our two seeded men, will begin their quest for the Southern title Monday afternoon.
The day ended with doubles action. With several of the South Carolina teams going down in the first round, it left South Carolina coach Mark Smith scratching his head. Smith said that “We (the South Carolina Player Development staff) have to do a better job in emphasizing doubles play and strategy at a much younger age, so that (South Carolina) doesn’t face a day like this, in doubles, again.”
For all the results and scores please go to the Tennislink.com website and enter tournament id 703302109.

See pictures below...

(Saturday June 20, 2009) Despite temperatures approaching the 100 degree mark, and on-court temperatures of over 125, the South Carolina 18’s got of to a solid start in the Southern Closed Championships in Little Rock. With 17 players from the Palmetto State seeing action on day one they posted a record of 13-4.
Joel Cook of Easley and Trey Halbauer of Daniel Island started things off with solid wins. Trey defeated Justin Kusiel of Georgia 6-3, 7-6. While Joel took a little while longer to get things rolling. He dropped the first set 4-6, before breezing through the next two sets 6-1, 6-1.
The next slate of matches featured straight set victories by Josh Cook, Chip Cox, and Connor Evins all winning by the score of 6-3, 6-2. Johnny Steichen, from Mt. Pleasant, took full advantage of the heat rule that had been put into effect by tournament director Gus Rivera. Under normal circumstances the 18’s must continue play when splitting sets. However, when the temperatures reach extreme levels, the tournament committee can invoke the heat rule, allowing a 10 minute break between the 2nd and 3rd sets. After dropping the 2nd set, Steichen used the 10 minute rest period to cool off, rehydrate his body, and listen to some words of wisdom from South Carolina coach Mark Smith. He then went out and reeled off the first 5 games of the 3rd set before closing it out 6-1. Dave Fosnacht of Blythewood received a walkover into the next round as his opponent withdrew due to an illness.
The afternoon brought on even hotter temperatures, but that didn’t phase most of the South Carolina girls. Alrissa Tobe of Bluffton and Stephanie Cox of Myrtle Beach both won in straight sets. Katie Fosnacht of Blythewood patterned her match very similar to Joel Cook’s morning match, needing to battle through things in the first set before righting the ship and cruising 6-1, 6-1 in sets 2 and 3. Jordan Lazarus of Myrtle Beach had to pull out of her match, after dropping the first set, with an arm issue.
The last matches of the day featured total domination by three of the Palmetto State’s girls. Kristina Mathis dropped only 2 games in her victory over Arkansas’ Helon Ricks. While Lauren Trumbull and Maria Hesketh blazed through their matches without dropping a game.
Mo Hookaylo, Randall Heffron, and Seabrook Lucas suffered tough first round defeats. But, will be ready to go on Sunday when the full feed-in consolation round begins.


Southern Closed 18s

Southern Closed 18s

Southern Closed 18s

Southern Closed 18s

Southern Closed 18s

Southern Closed 18s

Southern Closed 18s

Southern Closed 18s

Southern 18s Closed

Southern Closed 18s

Southern Closed 18s

Southern Closed 18s

Southern Closed 18s
 

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