Chattanooga Christian School's sisters, Caswell win state net titles

Chattanooga Christian School's sisters, Caswell win state net titles

May 26th, 2012 by Gene Henley in Sports - Preps

Chattanooga Christian's Ellie Henry returns the ball to doubles opponents Christian Academy of Knoxville during the class A-AA finals at Spring Fling in Murfreesboro, Tenn., on Friday, May 25, 2012.

Photo by Jake Daniels/Times Free Press.

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. -- When she realized that her Christian Academy of Knoxville opponent had double-faulted -- giving her doubles team a state championship -- Chattanooga Christian's Ellie Henry turned to her partner, lifted her up in the air and screamed "We're state champions!"

The joy was magnified since that person in the air, her doubles partner, was her sister Hannah.

The Lady Chargers duo defeated CAK's Barbara Smith and Haleigh Chastain 6-3, 6-0 for the TSSAA Class A/AA state championship. Baylor's Samantha Caswell took the Division II-AA singles title, defeating GPS's Michelle Fleenor, while the GPS doubles team of Emma McCallie and Hannah Morrow fell in the title match to 2011 champions Caroline Orr and Maggie Leavell of Hutchison.

This was Ellie's fifth state tournament -- she made it one other time in doubles and once in singles, along with twice as a team -- but her first title match, as well as her sister's.

"I was nervous during the match," Hannah said. "It took me a while to calm down, because I've never been in this situation before.

"When we won, I was shocked. I didn't think we would get along, but I'm glad we did play together. It didn't hit me at first -- I didn't realize that we had just won state -- but it's a great feeling."

Said Ellie: "It was kind of disappointing for the match to end on a double fault. I hated it for them; I'd much rather it be some sort of intense point, but it's definitely an exciting feeling that we finally won.

"We've got closer and closer each year, and I'm happy it's now my turn."

Caswell dismantled Fleenor in the first set but trailed 5-2 in the second before reeling off the next five games to get the win.

"I kind of knew that I wouldn't lose if I tried my hardest," Caswell said. "I've beat her five times this year, and not always when I wasn't playing well. Sometimes she tries to hit with me; sometimes she tries to lob. I told myself that if I was going to win, I was going to have to be out there long.

"It's rewarding to win a state title, but our goal was to win state and we did that."

Fleenor was pleased with her overall play.

"The first set was definitely not great," she said. "I played better in the second set and played more mental than trying to hit with her. She's a great player and always has been. She didn't back down and stuck with her game plan, and I stuck with mine. We've played each other enough times to where we know each other's strengths and weaknesses, and sometimes you have to adjust and try something new."

McCallie and Morrow got up a set against the defending state champions, but a combination of Hutchison making shots and GPS missing some proved to be a lethal combination.

"We were able to make shots when we needed to, but in the second set they were able to start taking our lobs as overheads, and we didn't get to the net as much as we should," McCallie said. "They made more shots and we missed more."