Morgan edged Grantsville 19-18 to win the 3A girls state tennis championship at Liberty Park on Saturday. Carbon and Maeser Prep Academy tied for third with 9 points each, and Rowland Hall-St. Marks finished fourth with 8 points.
Grantsville juniors Madison Bolinder and Addy Butler teamed up to win the 3A championship at first doubles.
Bolinder and Butler defeated Morgan’s Lucy Tripp and Brylee Adams in the championship match 6-4, 7-6 (2).
By winning four matches, the first doubles team scored one-third of Grantsville’s 18 team points at the state meet. The pair easily won their first-round match 6-1, 6-0 over Carbon. Competition got a bit tougher in the second round in a bout with a pair from Maeser Prep Academy, but the GHS team prevailed 6-4,6-2. They advanced to the finals with a 6-3, 6-2 win over a team from Rowland Hall-St. Marks.
Judge Memorial’s first doubles team almost helped Grantsville in its quest to win the state championship. Judge’s first-doubles team defeated Morgan’s Tripp and Adams in the first set of their semifinal match, but Tripp and Adams came back and won that match 6-7 (6), 6-2, 7-5. A Judge win in that match would have been big for Grantsville.
Grantsville’s top singles player Sophie Crosby reached the finals at first singles where she ran into a familiar foe, Morgan’s Katelyn Steel. Steel had defeated Crosby in three sets in the Region 13 championship match. Steel prevailed in the state championship match 6-1, 6-3.
Crosby opened the tourney with a 6-2, 6-3 victory over Juab, advanced to the semifinals with a 6-1, 6-1 victory over a Richfield opponent, then made it to the finals with a 6-1, 6-4 victory over Judge.
At second singles, Grantsville’s Lacy Linares engaged in a lengthy first-round match with Grand’s Stella McGowan, who consistently returned shots. Linares won the first set 7-5, but the slow returns and long points seemed to wear on Linares, and McGowan won the second set 3-6. Instead of being aggressive with shots, Linares played the slow-down “moon ball” game to win the third set and the match 7-5, 3-6, 6-2.
Linares advanced to the semifinals with a 6-2, 6-4 victory over Abbie Nelson of Juan Diego. She then lost in the semifinals to eventual state champion, Kelsey Ortega, of Maeser Prep 6-1, 6-2.
Grantsville’s Audrey Curtis advanced to the semifinals at third singles. She breezed past Erika Prasthofer of Rowland Hall 6-3, 6-1 in the first round, and then downed Kayla Miller of Union 6-0, 6-3 in the second round. Curtis lost in the semifinals to eventual state champion Carbon’s Lieke Verwiej.
Grantsville’s Lauren Holt and Afton Orgill advanced to the state championship match at second doubles where they lost to Morgan’s Ryann Jensen and Sydney Jensen 6-4, 6-2.
The Grantsville tandem started out with a 6-2, 6-3 victory over Richfield and then beat a Waterford pair 6-2, 6-3 in the second round. They reached the finals outlasting Madeline Frazier and Elena Owens of Rowland Hall 6-3, 4-6, 6-3.
“Morgan’s No. 1 singles is tough to beat. Sophie had her down 4-1 in a match at Morgan and then ran out of gas. The second time Sophie played her at region they split sets,” said Grantsville coach Stephen Thurgood.
“I was proud of the way Lacy played at second singles,” Thurgood said. He mentioned that some of her opponents used unorthodox styles of tennis.
The coach said senior third-singles player Audrey Curtis had a great year overall. Curtis battled hard against her opponent from Juan Diego, but lost in the semifinals.
The Cowboys picked up 2 points at third singles, while Morgan gained only 1 point losing in the second round.
“We had some opportunities that we didn’t take advantage of,” the coach said.
“We have a really good first doubles team with Maddie and Addy and both are juniors,” Thurgood said. “Maddie is finesse and Addy is power.”
The pair captured a state title last year at second doubles.
They did have a battle in the finals against Morgan’s team of Tripp who is a junior and Adams who is a sophomore, but prevailed to bring home a state championship.
“Addy has picked up her serve game and has a wicked slice to get opponents out of position, but her second serve is a little soft,” the coach said.
“Butler hits the ball hard and Bolinder has a great volley game,” he said. Sometimes Maddie will switch hands and hit with her left hand,” he added.
The coach said it is tough for a tennis team to rise to the top nowadays without players getting help from professional teachers and playing year-round which would require some indoor tennis.
“It’s tough to be competitive anymore unless you go get a professional. You can tell some of Morgan’s players are taught professionally,” the coach said. Morgan has been strong in tennis in recent years, after years of lackluster play.
During Thurgood’s time as head coach, Grantsville’s girls have finished second in state three times.
“As far as the year goes I think our kids played great. We played a lot of matches and as coaches we were able to help them change a few things and they improved. It’s not so much whether you win or lose, but that your players keep improving. That makes you feel good as a coach,” Thurgood said.
Brad Sutton helped the team as an assistant coach.