MASON — As the final shot sailed passed the end line, Macy Hitchcock let out scream and jumped in excitement.
Her younger sister, Mallory, was much more subdued but still excited, nonetheless.
After a brief hug, the duo breathed a sigh of relief as they accomplished a first for Eaton’s girls tennis program – winning a state doubles tennis championship together.
Macy and Mallory claimed the Division II title with their toughest match over the past three weeks by defeating Ananya Annapantula and Addison Cassidy of Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy 6-3, 6-4 on Saturday, Oct. 22, at the Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason.
The sisters, along with their dad and coach John, admitted there was mounting pressure on the duo to bring home another state title.
Macy was the two-time defending state singles champion but opted to play doubles during her senior season tournament run.
Mallory, a sophomore, was part of the Eagles state double championship team from last year.
“It’s good to be at this point. It’s really, it’s still a lot of relief,” John said. “Especially when you pair up state champions, everybody still expects them to repeat and dominate, which they were doing. So, people still want to hand it to them. But we knew this team was going to be their biggest threat. And they obviously were. They came to play, and you could tell nerves kicked in at the end on our side, even in the first match as well. They had a tough time kind of closing the match out and that kind of hung in there long enough to make it out.”
Macy said being able to win her third title with her sister was special.
“For me it’s really special because I’ve already won it twice but every time that I won, I was alone and it’s kind of lonely,” Macy said. “But to be able to play with someone, especially that someone being my sister was just special. Her and I have a close bond already and this just, I feel like heightened that like. We learned to communicate better on the court. We learned to just work together more.”
Mallory, a little lest talkative, agreed it was special.
“I just think it’s cool. I mean, I did it with a partner (Grace Murphy) last year. It’s just fun. We just kind of do everything together. So, it’s cool to do this,” she said. “It was a fun match to play.”
In the final, Macy and Mallory trailed for the first time during their quest for another title.
They trailed 2-1 in the first set before gaining control by winning the next three games for a 4-2 lead. After CHCA closed to within 4-3, the Eaton duo won the final two games to take the first set.
In the second set, Macy and Mallory appeared to be ready to cruise to the title building a 5-1 lead. But the CHCA team won the next three games to get within 5-4.
The final game of the match lasted 14 points with Macy and Mallory having four chances to win before finally closing out the set. They also faced two game points against them.
“Two matches in a row we seemed to lose our lead a little bit. I think we like to tend to make things more interesting, but they were definitely a really, really challenging team,” Macy said. “We knew that going in. One of one of them is like my closest friends and we know each other really well. We literally played doubles together this summer. So we know each other’s games. So, we knew going in it was going to be a tough match. But I was honestly looking forward to tough competitive match. A state title without a tough competitive match. But I definitely felt more relaxed just because my coach told me you already have two titles anything else is just the cherry on top of the ice cream cone.”
John said Macy will leave Eaton as the most decorated tennis player in program history.
“Phenomenal. A three-time state champion. I think now we can probably say most decorated at Eaton,” he said. “To dominate a sport like this is just a credit to all the hard work she’s been doing since before even elementary school. So, you see it really just coming to fruition. Just a true battler. The instructors would always tell me at the clinics she has what we can’t teach and that’s heart and fight. If we could do that, we’d be millionaires. And they saw that when she was six, seven years old. She just hates to lose and just goes out, again this year, she wanted to try to have a little fun and do it with his sister. But as you saw it still got a little tight and nerve wracking. So, it wasn’t all fun they had to work for it. Just super proud.”
He said Mallory has the potential for more success.
“You could see flashes of the real Mallory and we’ve always said if she could believe how good she is, then she’d be a force. But you saw at the end she really got tight and nervous and was just barely hitting the ball there at the end but if she can be free and loose, she can hold her own.
John said he tried to keep his emotions in check watching his daughters during the tournament run.
“You can’t put it into words. To see them out there it’s kind of hard,” he said. “You knew it was Macy’s last year so you’re trying to take it in and enjoy it a little bit, but you still knew you kind of, especially in those matches, you still had to coach them up. So, you couldn’t really get too sentimental looking back too far, but words truly can’t explain how it feels.”
Macy and Mallory, both said it was relief once the final point was secured.
“Oh, relief,” Macy said. “There’s so much pent up feeling nervous, anxiety that courses through you during those points. So, when it’s finally over, you can finally breathe, relax. It kind of just hits you like ‘Oh my gosh, we’re done, we did it.’”
Mallory said she felt the pressure of the moment but remained confident.
“I definitely think that I did (feel pressure) just because since we’ve already done it everyone just kind of expects it to happen. So then if it doesn’t, then it’s such a big deal,” she said. “A huge sigh of relief. It’s a good feeling.”
Looking back on her career Macy said it meant a lot to her to out Eaton tennis on the map along with playing with her sister and being coached by her dad.
“It just means a lot to me. My freshman year I did not do well (at state),” she said. “But being able to just come back, bounce back and make Eaton proud. It means a lot to me to be able to do that. It means it means a lot to me to be able to do that for my community, for my people, for my team, especially for my dad being my coach.
“Sometimes it can be an issue but other times it’s really nice. Everyone’s like, ‘Oh, he’s your coach. He’s not your dad.’ But on the court, you really do have that father-daughter relationship. It never truly goes away. The one thing that I love is full on honesty. He can tell us exactly what we’re doing wrong. He’s not afraid to put us in our place and we’re not afraid to put him in his place.
“Sometimes it’s helpful but other times it can get stressful. Sometimes tennis it comes back home and we don’t like when it comes back home. So we try and keep it separate.
:I’m just super thankful to everyone who supported us. We had a huge group of kids come out yesterday that made me feel really good just knowing that we had that support back home, all of our family for coming out it really just means a lot to us to have that support, but to see them to hear them like just all of that.”