There is no better girls tennis rivalry in South Carolina than Irmo versus South Aiken.
The two powers will collide today in a Region 3-AAAA matchup at Odell Weeks Tennis Center in Aiken at 5 p.m.
South Aiken (4-0, 3-0 in Region 3-AAAA) won the Region 3-AAAA title and swept Irmo during the regular season but lost an emotional 4-3 match in the Lower State semifinals last season. Irmo went on and won the Class AAAA state title.
South Aiken defeated Irmo for the 1995 Class AAAA state title. Realignment placed the two powers in the same region after that title match. Thoroughbreds coach Barbara Sproull said this match will probably will be the first of three meetings this season. The two squads will meet at Irmo on Oct. 13.
"It's unfortunate we are both in the same region," Sproull said. "One of us will not make it to the state finals."
Sophomore sensation Elizabeth Sauerborn leads the Thoroughbreds attack. Sauerborn, who led the Thoroughbreds to the state title as an eighth grader, is ranked No. 23 player in the country in 16-and-under girls and is rated the third-best 16-and-under player in the South.
"She's playing very well and she had a very good summer," said Sproull of her star player.
South Aiken returns its entire starting team from last season while Irmo only lost one player, who played No. 2 doubles. The key matchup could be South Aiken's No. 2 player and lone senior Jackie Deason against Irmo's No. 2 player Jennifer Fayad.
The two players are evenly matched and know each other's games very well.
"That (match) determine what we did in No. 1 doubles," Sproull said. "That (Deason versus Fayad) was a crucial match in all three matches."
Under coach Bill Porter, Irmo has won four Class AAAA state titles in eight years and has played in the state finals in two other occasions.