ROSEVILLE — Shaking off early nerves, Gregori High School's Karrigan Cook and Madison McKay rallied to bring home a Sac-Joaquin Section Division I tennis title.
The two young players McKay a freshman and Cook a sophomore beat St. Mary's seniors Elizabeth Stephens and Makenna Wilkinson 1-6, 6-4, 7-5 in the doubles finals on Friday afternoon at the Johnson Ranch Racquet Club.
"We were tense and tight," said McKay, referring to the pressure of playing seniors. "Our moods were down. We were pretty upset."
Both went to the sideline after that first set and received a good pep talk from Gregori coach Tracy Moore.
"She pumped us up," McKay said. "We told ourselves, 'Look this is a new set. Fight hard. Start fresh. That's what we did."
The two took a 5-2 lead in the second set only to see Stephens and Wilkinson win the next two games. However, McKay served out the second set to set up and the all-or-nothing third.
Stephens and Wilkinson took a 2-1 lead, then Cook and McKay won the next two games. The match went to 5-5 before Cook and McKay won the 11th game.
The final game went to 40-all with McKay serving for the title.
"I kept telling myself to just get the serve in with some spin and stay in the point," she said.
After a short rally, Cook, from her favorite spot at the net, moved in front of a return and volleyed an unreachable angle shot for the title.
"Maddie mostly plays back and I like to play the net," Cook said. "We know how to complement each other on the court."
Cook and McKay played doubles in youth tennis and didn't pair up this season until the Modesto Metro Conference championship, which they also won.
"These two girls played with a lot of heart and passion today," Moore said. "They had a team chemistry that no other could match."
In singles play, Beyer's Symone Jacques retired due to injury in her Division I semifinal match to eventual champ Abby Bacharach of Del Oro. Ceres' Marifer Ochoa lost 6-2, 6-2 to eventual Division II champ Eirene Granville of Inderkum.
PREP WATER POLO Downey High pulled off a thrilling victory to advance to Monday's quarterfinals.
The Knights got overtime goals from Lyndsay Purdom and Tarah Salazari in an 11-10 victory over Nevada Union.
Downey, the Modesto Metro Conference champion, will face Davis of Davis on Monday morning at 8 at Lodi's Tokay High School.
Hallee Callizo had five goals and Carly Wickman added three as Downey held a 9-7 lead with with three minutes left. Nevada Union came by to tie the game, the final goal coming with 21 seconds left in regulation.
In other games involving Stanislaus District teams, Central California Conference champion Merced fell to Tokay 7-5, while Modesto, the second seed from the MMC, lost 20-7 against St. Mary's. CCC runner-up Atwater lost to St. Francis 17-3.
The boys Division I playoffs at Johansen High start today at 8 a.m. Downey, Johansen, Merced and Atwater all will be in action.
COLUMBIA VOLLEYBALL Bella Bachtelle had nine kills and Miranda Storre added seven to lead the Claim Jumpers (5-8 CVC, 11-11 overall) to a 25-15, 25-21, 25-19 victory over West Hills. Jakki Lowery had nine digs and three aces as Columbia.
MJC MEN'S SOCCER Francisco Chavez scored one goal and assisted on the other as the Pirates defeated Cosumnes River 2-1 to clinch a spot in the playoffs. The women's team fell 1-0 to Diablo Valley College despite Ashley Almeida's seven saves in the season-ender.