After a lackluster performance Friday on the opening day of the Class 3-2-1A girls tennis tournament, Collegiate tennis coach Dave Hawley knew it was going to take a major effort for his team to win the title.
He got the effort. Collegiate athletes won seven of their eight matches Saturday and Collegiate finished with 38 points — one more than Independent and two more than Conway Springs.
"As bad of a day as we felt we had (Friday), we had an equally unbelievable day today," Hawley said. "We weren't in the position to win unless everything tumbled correctly, and that started with us playing well. We couldn't take a game off. Every single point has to be made, and we rose to that."
A rough Friday left Collegiate in a tough spot.
"Frankly, we were just outplayed on Friday," Hawley said. "Today, we came back three different times from huge deficits in matches to win. Every single kid won us at least a point, which won us the tournament."
Doubles partners Grace LeMaster and Jillian Johnson, the only Collegiate players to reach the semifinals, , captured their second straight doubles title with a 6-2, 7-6 (3) win over Conway Springs' Chelsea Ebenkamp and Abby Koester.
It marked LeMaster's third doubles title — her first was with a different partner.
The rest of Collegiate's team points came from the back half of the bracket. The Spartans' other doubles team, Natalie Farha and Keli Dunn, won their last four matches to place fifth.
Collegiate's Esther Cho lost in the singles quarterfinals, but placed seventh, beating Independent's Colleen Zirkle 9-5.
Independent was led by returning state champion Caroline Lincoln, who cruised into the singles final, then was dethroned 6-1, 6-4 by undefeated Norton sophomore Tawni Griffey. Griffey did not play tennis her freshman year at Sunrise Academy because the school did not have a program.
"It was a little intimidating. I knew (Lincoln) was a great player," Griffey said. "I just tried to stay mentally strong, keep my composure and stay positive."
Lincoln (22-4) said she felt the pressure of trying to repeat as state champion.
"I gave it my all. It just wasn't my day," she said. "I think there might have been a little more pressure, but once you're out there it's an even playing field. She came out and she played an awesome match. She deserves the win."
Independent's Emily Ramseyer and Jillian Poynter finished third in doubles, beating Ellinwood's Bailey Schartz and Michelle Miller 6-4, 7-6 (2).
Conway Springs' Ashley Koester beat Claflin's Allie Hipp 6-1, 6-2 in the third-place match.