Regional tennis: Nelson-Storey come out on top in doubles final
By Bret Strelow
Salisbury fans cheered when Erika Nelson and Katelyn Storey evened the 2A Midwest Regional doubles final at one set apiece. The match reached an unusual but satisfying conclusion moments later.
Cuthbertson coach Eric Studyvin defaulted McKenna Karas and Kalli Karas, an injury-plagued pairing that repeatedly acted in an unsportsmanlike manner Monday at City Park.
“I would have loved to have played the third set,” Nelson said. “It would have been a good match, but it was exciting at the same time to know we won.”
Nelson, a sophomore, and Storey, a freshman, improved their doubles record to 22-0 despite dropping the first set 6-3 against the Karas sisters. Nelson-Storey bounced back to win the second set 6-2, and Studyvin revealed his decision during a break before the start of the third set.
“It’s always better to play it out and then you can definitely prove that whoever wins is the champion, but we’ll take that too,” Storey said.
Nelson-Storey advanced to the final thanks to a 6-1, 6-2 win against Ashe County’s Courtney Bowers-Lizzie Hanes. Karas-Karas, the top-seeded doubles team in the region, had lost a total of two games in three victories leading up to the championship match.
“McKenna has a bad wrist, and Kalli has a bad lower back,” Studyvin said. “The pain’s making them upset. They can’t swing, can’t maneuver, can’t play. Third set of the finals is a six-game set, and they had to play a whole new set. Instead of getting injured and risking going to states injured, we went ahead and defaulted.”
That match ended shortly after Hannah Lebowitz won the singles title.
It was the Hornets’ third regional sweep in the last four years. Lebowitz and the doubles team of Casey Collins-Susie Wear were champions in 2006 and 2007.
Collins-Wear breezed to straight-set wins both years, but Nelson-Storey took a more circuitous route.
“You hate to win that way, but our girls certainly deserved that regional championship,” Salisbury coach Chris Myers said. “They were playing at an incredibly high level, even in that first set. They were being aggressive, playing high-percentage tennis, picking their spots.”
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