MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - Entering Wednesday's Division II-AA state team tennis championship match against Memphis University School, McCallie had the mentality that it would take a great match combined with a little luck to beat arguably the state's top team, regardless of classification.
The effort was there, but the results weren't quite as satisfying.
The Owls won their second straight state championship with a 4-0 victory over the Blue Tornado at the Old Fort courts. It was McCallie's first trip to a state final since winning the title in 2009.
"I'm pleased with how we fought," Tornado coach Eric Voges said. "MUS is a very strong team -- they're the strongest we've played all year -- and they didn't give us much, either. They didn't make many errors, and that makes them tough to beat. I'm proud of how we fought, but they were just too good for us."
McCallie had one win in doubles, by Luke Orthner and Carter Eaves, but MUS took the other two matches for the team doubles point, then had straight-set wins by Spencer Richey, Paul Lattue and Alex Carro to clinch the title.
"This group of kids entered the year strong, and that's nice," Voges said. "We entered today's match with the idea that we had nothing to lose: We needed to cut down on our errors, hope they miss a lot, but they didn't give us much. You can only count on the emotion of the moment, but they didn't give us much today."
The Blue Tornado (11-3) lose only Orthner from this season's team.
"We approached the match open-minded -- with the thought that we know they have good players -- but we do, too," Orthner said. "We just had to try and stay positive, that no matter the situation we had to have the constant mindset that we were going to try our best to win the match.
"I'm going to have a lot of memories from McCallie. Even in our semifinal and finals losses through the state tournament, I had a great group of guys around me. That's definitely something to remember."
Contact Gene Henley at email@example.com or 423-757-6311. Follow him at twitter.com/genehenleytfp.