DAYTON — Preble Shawnee’s girls tennis team captured its third straight league championship last week after winning titles at first singles and first and second doubles during the Southwestern Buckeye League Buckeye Division tournament.
The tournament was held Thursday, Sept. 27.
The Arrows finished with 55 points to outdistance runner-up Milton-Union (48) by seven points.
“Winning a league title was our goal all year,” Shawnee coach Dave Hubbard said. “Our girls played great tennis all season long to put us in a position today to bring it home. With just a three-point lead going into the tournament, we knew we had to stay focused and not falter at any position to stay ahead of Milton. I told the girls to set their sights today on getting to the finals at every spot and they did just that.”
Hubbard said the title is even more special to him since this is his last season at the helm of the program.
“I am sincerely blessed to coach this group of quality young ladies. They made my final regular season as the head coach a very special one for sure,” he said. “We still have the sectionals (this) week so we need to keep working hard and stay focused on getting players through to districts.”
Allison Zornes won the title at first singles, while Lauren Smith and Grace Deaton won first doubles and Zoey Collins and Destiney Quillen claimed a title at second doubles.
Alivia Reek was the runner-up at second singles and Michelle Bulach was runner-up at third singles.
Zornes, who missed last season due to an ACL injury, cruised through the first two rounds, before knocking off top seed Meredith Fitch of Milton-Union 6-4, 2-6, 6-0.
“Before the season started, Allison and I talked about a personal goal for her to win an individual title for herself at first singles. After sitting out last season with an ACL injury, it was really something special to see her do just that,” Hubbard said. “She has worked extremely hard and never gave up on getting her game back to the level it is now. Allison’s win in the final today was sincerely one of the most special moments of my coaching career and I will never forget it.”
Smith and Deaton entered the tournament as the No. 1 seed at first doubles and made the seeding stand by winning the title in straight sets over Haley Felts and Jodee Baker of Dixie 6-4, 6-3.
“Lauren and Grace went quietly about their business as they have all year,” Hubbard said. “They were undefeated in regular season league play and ran the table today. They played some very smart tennis and were aggressive at just the right times. I couldn’t have asked for anything more from Lauren and Grace.”
Collins and Quillen were also the top seed at second doubles. They defeated Alexandria Allen and Gabby Bates of Dixie 6-1, 6-4 in the championship match.
“Zoey and Destiney had a strong regular season and an outstanding day today. They were also unbeaten in regular season league play and the tournament,” Hubbard said. “Zoey and Destiney are an integral part of our success this season.”
Reek was the No. 2 seed at second singles and didn’t drop a set until the finals, where she lost to Taylor Falb of Milton-Union 6-3, 6-0.
“Alivia had a great season and was instrumental in our winning another league title,” Hubbard said. “She is a fierce competitor and I know she was disappointed to lose the final, but I am very proud of what she accomplished this season.”
Bulach, the No. 2 seed, lost in the final to Hannah Fugate of Milton-Union 6-3,6-3.
“Michelle had another terrific season and did everything I asked of her. She played a fantastic final today against an really strong player from Milton,” Hubbard said. “I am very proud of how she played and even more proud of how she represented herself today and all season.”
The Arrows were scheduled to play in the Division II sectional this week. The top four will advance to the district tournament next week.
Reach Eddie Mowen Jr. at 937-683-4056 or on Twitter @emowen_RH