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Prep Tennis West final: Salisbury 5, Shelby 2

By Mike London
mlondon@salisburypost.com
Salisburyís girls tennis team took a giant step toward its fourth straight state championship with a 5-2 win at previously unbeaten Shelby on Wednesday afternoon ó and evening.
The teams scrapped for three hours.
ěIt was too tough,î Salisbury coach Chris Myers said. ěShelby played great tennis, so it was a fantastic win for us.î
Shelby (18-1) actually held leads in two tight doubles matchups that werenít completed, but the Hornets (19-1) clinched victory and a return trip to the 2A championships when their No. 3 doubles pairing of Sallie Kate Meyerhoeffer-Alexandra Drye secured a 10-4 triumph.
Salisbury coach Chris Myers pointed at No. 2 singles as the pivotal matchup. Thatís where Salisburyís Katelyn Storey beat Shelbyís Hillary Lutz 6-4, 6-3.
Lutz had topped Storey for the state 2A individual crown in 2010, but Storey is a different player now.
She also had serious confidence after playing superb tennis in repeating as 2A state individual runner-up over the weekend.
ěKatelyn beat three stud players in the individual tournament and you can kind of see now that sheís not just thinking she can hang with the really good players, she knows she can beat them and believes she will beat them,î Myers said. ěThe way Katelynís been playing I saw this coming, but it was definitely a very critical win for us. It had to deflate Shelby some to see Hillary go down.î
Shelbyís brilliant freshman Nancy Bridges won at No. 1 singles against Joy Loeblein, but Myers had anticipated the Hornets would dominate in the lower seeds. Thatís how it played out.
Shelby senior Jenna Washburn turned in a terrific effort to beat Madeline Hoskins in a tiebreaker at No. 4, but Erika Nelson rolled at No. 3, Drye cruised at No. 6, and Meyerhoeffer prevailed after a tense tussle at No. 5.
ěSallie Kate winning was the other really big one,î Myers said. ěIt made all the difference in the world that we were able to go to doubles up 4-2 instead of being tied 3-3.
Being deep has been the key to Salisburyís success all along.
ěThere are great players out there and a lot of teams have two or three exceptional ones,î Myers said. ěA few even have five, but we can put six very good ones on the court. Thatís made the difference in a lot of matches.î
Salisbury will play for yet another state title on Saturday at 1 p.m. in Burlington against Hillsborough Cedar Ridge.
Cedar Ridge (21-2) handled Greene Central 5-1 on Tuesday.

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