OKLAHOMA CITY — Three times McAlester’s one-doubles team of Jennifer Amy and Rayne Key had faced Durant’s Christina Gomes and Ryan Schuessler, and three times the Lady Buffaloes had needed three sets to dispatch their rivals from the Lady Lions.
At Saturday’s Class 5A state tournament, McAlester finally prevailed in two sets.
Amy and Key beat Gomes and Schuessler 6-2, 7-6 in the consolation semifinals. McAlester went 3-2 overall at the tournament, ultimately losing to Guthrie in the consolation finals and finishing sixth at the Oklahoma City Tennis Center.
Amy and then-senior Loretta Medina finished eighth at the 2013 state tournament, making 2014 a definite improvement. McAlester’s one-doubles team was the only McAlester team to place.
“They played the whole state tournament a lot better than they did at Regionals,” McAlester tennis coach Chad Waller said of his one-doubles team.
“They knew they had to come out here and be aggressive and they had to play their style of tennis and come in in order to do that, and it’s a lot more fun to play that way, too. That’s what we told them, and they were able to take care of business in straight sets.”
McAlester jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first set against Durant, using a combination of tough serves and Durant double-faults to break the Lady Lions twice. Durant got a break in the fifth game and then held serve to make it 4-2 McAlester, but McAlester won its fifth game easily.
Durant served the eighth game of the set. Key twice returned Durant’s serve to the opposite corner of the court, helping McAlester break and win the first set.
The Lady Lions put up far more of a fight in the second set, twice breaking McAlester to at one point take a 5-4 lead. But Durant fell behind 15-30 due to double-faults, then Amy fired off back-to-back cross-court shots to give McAlester the break and tie the set.