It wasn’t quick or easy, but Beavercreek junior Julia Bays got the job done.
Bays took the opening set of the Division I singles quarterfinals, 6-4, but Turpin senior Savannah Allen was just getting started. Allen sped to a quick 6-1 second set win to force a third set in the Southwest District tennis tournament on Thursday.
“I wasn’t moving my feet well in the second set,” Bays said. “And she had some great shots.”
Bays regrouped and built a solid 5-2 lead in the third set, but the match was far from over. Allen fought back, breaking Bays’ service game and evening the set at 5-5. The Beavercreek junior – whose season ended at the district tournament last year – was determined to extend this tennis season. She broke Allen and served out the set to earn a trip to the state tournament – the first Beavercreek girls player to do so in more than a decade.
“I just left it all out there,” Bays said. “I have no words for how I’m feeling right now.”
»RELATED: Thursday’s high school roundup
»RELATED: Thursday’s high school scoreboard
Bays let her tennis do the talking at the Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason. A third seed heading into the tournament, she dispensed with second-seeded Peyton Beller, Loveland, 7-5, 6-1, in the opening round. Allen beat top-seeded Xia Lin, Butler, to set up the quarterfinal match against Bays.
What a difference a year has made for the Beavers junior – mentally as well as physically.
“My mindset is a lot better – stronger,” she said. “I’m more confident on the court.”
Bays will face Mason junior Emma Kruse in the semifinals Saturday. Kruse battled to a 7-6, 7-5 win over Bellbrook senior Andrea Szep in the quarterfinals Thursday.
Division II: Oakwood sophomore Lily McCloskey was all business Thursday, dropping only a single game in two matches.
The Jills No. 1 singles player opened the day with a 6-0, 6-0 win over Lynn Kader, of Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy, followed by a 6-0, 6-1 win over Annika Alper, Seven Hills, to advance to the D-II state tournament for a second consecutive year.
“I think I was a little less nervous this year because I’ve been here before and I know what to expect,” McCloskey said.
McCloskey, 16, looked right at home at the Lindner Family Tennis Center, but she is careful not to get overconfident. Defending D-II district champion Elizabeth Fahrmeier, Summit Country Day, also moved on to the semifinals Thursday. Fahrmeier and McCloskey finished first and second, respectively, in the district final last year.
“I know I need to prepare myself mentally for two hard matches on Saturday, no matter what,” McCloskey said.
The Jills sophomore will play Indian Hill junior Hayley Hirsch in the semifinals Saturday morning.
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