Bishop tennis wins their own invitational, remains unbeaten for almost two years

It only seems like the Bishop England girls’ tennis team might not ever lose a match again.

Don’t worry, coach Kristen Arnold Fleming isn’t buying into the hyperbole just yet. But it’s been a while since the Bishops lost a match, just about two years ago. And if the results of this year’s Bishop England Fall Invitational are any indication, it just might be quite a while before the Bishops lose another match. The team won their own event and proved to be one of the elite of the elite in South Carolina.

The Bishops invited girls’ tennis bluebloods from around the Palmetto State including River Bluff, Hilton Head, Christ Church, Waccamaw, Porter-Gaud, Ashley Hall, Wando, Philip Simmons, Oceanside Collegiate and Mauldin.

“It’s the 10th year of our tournament,” Fleming Arnold said. “We invite 16 teams from across the state. This definitely helps us down the road. When you play stronger teams, it helps you prepare what you might face in the playoffs. It’s good for the girls to see different faces from other places in the state.”

The Bishops haven’t lost a match since dropping the championship match of the 2017 BE Fall Invitational.

The Bishops topped Waccamaw 6-0 in the first round, and then tripped Mauldin 5-1. Christ Church, an Upstate power with an impressive history, challenged the Bishops, who answered with inspired play to eke out a 4-3 decision.

The Bishops topped River Bluff 4-3 in another challenging matchup to win its championship. River Bluff won the Class AAAAA state championship in 2017 and reached the Final Four last fall.

“It was a lot of tennis,” Fleming Arnold said. “We had four matches in three days. You have a tendency to come out tired when you play in a big tournament like this. But our team came out ready to play. This is a tournament where you can get tested more than once. We were ready.”

The Bishops are focused on winning their ninth straight state championship this fall. The Class AAA state playoffs will begin Oct. 23, with Upper and Lower State championships set for Nov. 4. The team state championship is set for noon on Nov. 9. Singles championships are slated for Nov. 11-12.

The Bishops were perfect last fall, finishing with a 23-0 record. They put an exclamation mark on the season after blasting a previously undefeated Chapman team 7-0 in the Class AAA state championship.

The team lost only 11 games in the five singles and two doubles matches against Chapman.

Bishop England knows that posting another perfect season is an extreme challenge. But they are ready.

The team is young, but talented. Junior Lily Woods is the No. 1 singles player while classmate Jenna Santa Lucia holds down No. 2. McKenzie Penton is currently No. 3 while sophomore Elle Bredmann is the No. 4 singles player. Freshman Sydney Severence is the No. 5 player.

“We’re just excited to be where we are right now,” Fleming Arnold said. “But we have to keep moving, keep working.”

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