NORTH SALT LAKE Fresh off winning a tough semifinal match, Orem's Callie Craig expected to have her work cut out for her in the first singles championship. Her opponent Pine View's Morgan Anderson reached the final by mixing a powerful serve with an ability to hit deep balls to overwhelm a string of top-notch players.
Craig's strategy was to use that power against Anderson. The Tiger sophomore realized she couldn't allow Anderson to build one of her trademark early set leads.
Her game plan worked to perfection. Craig breezed through her final match, winning 6-2, 6-1 to capture the 4A championship in first singles at the Eagleridge Tennis and Swim Club Saturday afternoon.
Orem earned a clean sweep of the singles titles. Kelsie Craig won the second singles final, also her second state title, after defeating Pine View's Melissa Cowles 6-1, 6-1. Andie Young beat another Panther, Karlie Hancock, 6-0, 6-3 for the third singles crown.
The fact all three of them took home titles gave the girls great satisfaction.
"I'm so excited," Kelsie Craig said. "Pine View thought they would sweep and win state, but they didn't."
The Panthers fell short in all of the individual finals except second doubles, where Hilary Wright and Alexa Ford beat Megan Keddington and Brett Lalli of Bountiful 6-3, 6-0. But Pine View earned enough points in the first three rounds to eclipse the Tigers for the team title, edging Orem 22 to 20.
It served as validation to anyone who underestimated Pine View's ability to add a 4A team title to their collection of 3A titles.
"Pine View made some noise," Wright said.
Momentum quickly swung Callie Craig's way when she seized a 4-1 lead in the first set. Anderson was not used to playing from behind in earlier rounds and grew frustrated at times trying to rally.
Craig had anticipated fighting tooth and nail to get any points. Earning an early lead was a huge confidence boost.
"I thought it was awesome," Craig said. "At first I was like, 'Okay, it's probably going to be close.' Then I was like, 'Okay, I'm playing awesome. I can just keep playing awesome and I'll win it.'"
It was Craig's second state title, after taking the top spot in second singles as a freshman. Winning in first singles means more, though, because of the caliber of competition she had to wade through to get a title.
"There's a lot better players in the number one spot," Craig said. "You have to play your game better and play harder."
East claimed the remaining state title in contention on Saturday. Seniors Sarah Black and Rachel Barker won the first doubles championship, beating Pine View's Lauren Wright and Andee Gempeler 6-3, 2-6, 6-1. Losing to the Leopards prevented Wright from becoming Pine View's first player to win four state titles in four years.All semifinal and final matches were played the Eagleridge Tennis and Swim Club in North Salt Lake after snow and rain forced the 4A tournament to be moved indoors.
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