High school girls tennis: Solid Park City claims 3A state title

Published: Saturday, Oct. 12 2013 7:45 p.m. MDT

Park City's Kylie Schwalbe returns a ball as she and teammate Kenna Tychsen compete in the 3A girls second doubles tennis at Liberty Park on Oct. 12.

Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — Heading into this week’s 3A state tournament, Park City coach Tim Donnelly had a hunch his Miners were the team to beat, but had no idea how they’d handle the increased anxiety of the tourney atmosphere.

After swapping text messages with some of the “professional texters” on Park City’s team following a successful first day Friday, Donnelly had no doubt his players would take care of business Saturday, which is exactly what they did.

Park City won four of five semifinal matches, and then claimed individual titles at second and third singles to capture the 3A state championship with 20 team points at Liberty Park. Pine View finished second with 14 points.

“It was a great day,” said Donnelly, whose team was tied with Pine View and Desert Hills at eight points after Day 1.

Dani Lecher’s win at second singles epitomized Park City’s weekend, and the entire 2013 season for that matter. She simply found a way. Trailing Snow Canyon’s Bergen Nelson 5-2 in the third set, Lecher hunkered down and rallied for the 6-2, 5-7, 7-5 victory.

“(She was) incredibly focused and calm. She has been working on that all season, remaining in the moment and finding a way,” said Donnelly. “Coming back in the third set, it just shows that mental fortitude she has been working on all year. Always knew she’s been a leader off the court, and to see her do it on the court is incredible.”

Jessica Santos claimed Park City’s other individual title at third singles, also in three sets, as she topped Pine View’s Hattie Erekson, 6-3, 4-6, 6-2.

As expected, Lacey Hancock easily won the first singles title for the third straight year, defeating Park City’s Solveig Karlsen 6-0, 6-0.

“I was really nervous of course, so my sisters said to get the nerves out, get pumped up, do some first pumps. I think that helped me a lot, raised my confidence,” said Hancock.

Hancock was Pine View’s lone individual winner Saturday, but the junior was extremely pleased with how all of her teammates competed.

“Actually right now I’m more proud of my team than myself. I’m so glad that my team got to go far. We didn’t get first, but hey, second is good,” said Hancock.

While Park City and Pine View claimed the singles titles, Desert Hills and Grantsville did their damage in doubles

The Desert Hills team of Taylor Cooney and Madz Eames topped Park City’s Kylie Schwalbe and Kenna Tychsen in three sets, 6-1, 4-6, 6-3, to prevail at first doubles. The victory helped lead the Thunder to a third-place team finish.

Grantsville finished fourth thanks in large part to its second doubles pairing of freshman Bailee Sandberg and sophomore Becca Toone. The youngsters narrowly edged Juan Diego’s Caitlin Keenan and Mikela Baird, 6-4, 7-6.

3A State Tournament

At Liberty Park

Team scores

1. Park City, 20; 2. Pine View, 14; 3. Desert Hills, 12; 4. Grantsville, 9; 5. Snow Canyon 6; 6 (tie). Juan Diego, Payson, 5; 8. Hurricane, 4.

1st singles

Semifinals

Lacey Hancock, Pine View def. Maddie Barton, Desert Hills, 6-0, 6-0

Solveig Karlsen, Park City def. Francessca Ecklund, Snow Canyon, 6-2, 6-3

Championship

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