EMPORIA — Maddie and Allie Schulte put together the perfect combination of finesse and power to dethrone defending Class 5A doubles champions Casyn Buchman and Kirsten Holle of McPherson in the championship match on Saturday.
Kapaun Mount Carmel's senior-freshman sister combination won 6-4, 6-4. Maddie Schulte couldn't have scripted a better way to end her high school tennis career.
"It was intense and it was kind of nerve-racking," she said. "But it was a good match and I'm glad it was a good match.... I'm especially glad that it was with my sister because my older sister and I played. We placed second in two years. Now we finally got it."
Buchman and Holle gave the Kapaun team trouble with their powerful serves and net play, but the Schultes found their strides late in both sets, winning games with overwhelming ground strokes to claim the title.
"I think their ground game was what killed us the most," Buchman said.
Holle added: "There were very consistent. It doesn't feel as good as last year, but second place is still OK."
Kapaun finished second in the team standings behind Blue Valley, whose Ashley Tiefel and Audrey Coventry fought it out in the singles final. Coventry won 6-2, 6-1. Kapaun's Abby Stevens lost to Coventry in the semifinals and placed third.
Bishop Carroll placed third. Sophomore Maddie Oxler and freshman Courtney Lubbers beat the Salina Central team of Asley DeTurk and Kelsey Hauserman in the third-place match 6-4, 6-3.
Both girls sacrificed singles spots to help the team and on Saturday it paid dividends.
"It ended up all good in the end," Oxler said. "It was fun because we are cousins, and we got to play with each other through out the year."
Carroll senior Courtney Dold made the switch from doubles to singles this year and finished fifth with a 9-3 win over Gardner-Edgerton's Samantha Aleman.
"I really wanted to be the team leader," Dold said. "And I think I filled that role pretty well. Coming out here was really exciting. I was nervous but coach says nervousness is part of being excited. I'm glad with the way that I finished — really strong."
Maize team, Northwest's Wilkerson finish fourth at 6A — Buoyed by a pair of singles medalists, Maize finished solidly in fourth place at the 6A tournament in Topeka.
"We had all six players qualify and three of our four entries medaled, so we're very happy," Eagles coach John Anderson said. "We had a match or two that didn't go our way early against (Washburn) Rural, but we feel good about finishing fourth against such good competition."
Senior Tiffany Khounsombath capped her Maize career with a seventh-place finish, including a consolation second-round victory against teammate and fellow senior Kari Rezac.
Khounsombath (30-11) beat Campus freshman Olivia Medaris 9-3 in the seventh-place match, avenging losses to Medaris (26-8) at the AV-CTL final.
Northwest sophomore Lindy Wilkerson lost in Saturday's semifinals to eventual runner-up Madison Rhyner of Blue Valley North, then lost in straight sets to Rural's Taylor Smith in the third-place match.
Still, she considered her state tourney a successful one.
"I just wanted to do better than I did last year, so I was aiming for fifth place," Wilkerson said. "To make it to the semis was a huge accomplishment. I just into two really good players, but I tried my best."