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Cranbrook wins fifth straight Division 3 title, Daavettila repeats as state champion in No. 1 singles

By: Jeff Dullack, May 30, 2015, 7:30 pm

GRAND BLANC – During Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook Kingswood’s four year state championship streak reign in Division 3, the Cranes have used their star power to help get the job done.

But entering the Division 3 state championships over the weekend, the Cranes would have to rely on their depth if they hoped to extend their streak.

And on Friday and Saturday it was a balanced effort across the board helped lead the way for Cranbrook as the Cranes captured a fifth consecutive Division 3 state championship as the Cranes totaled 32 points, beating out runner-up Grand Rapids Christian (28) and Detroit Country Day (27).

Cranbrook coach Jeff Etterbeek said that this year’s state championship was one that was satisfying given that this year’s team was different from year’s past.

“In the past, we had a great horse in Alex Najarian, she was our leader and it kind of seemed a little easier then,” he said. “This was really rewarding this year because it was such a team effort, we were not seeded No. 1 in any flight. I think our girls came and played the best tennis they’ve played all year and they performed. Even though we didn’t win all of our matches, we were competitive in every flight and it was a great weekend for us.”

The Cranes claimed state titles in two flights, No. 2 doubles and No. 4 doubles.

The No. 2 doubles team of Amanda Simmons and Amanda Twu, needed an upset win over top seed Grand Rapids Christian, 6-2, 6-4 to advance to the championship match, where they topped Holland Christian’s team of Mackenzie Weener and Lauren Balder, 7-6(6), 6-3.

Simmons and Twu both won state titles a season ago, playing on separate doubles teams, but after some lineup shuffling late in this season, teamed up to take home another doubles title.

“For both of us, it’s our last year playing high school tennis and she’s one of my best friends, so it’s an exciting experience, so winning a state championship is so cool,” said Simmons.

Twu added that she and Simmons, while playing separate for a large part of the season, both worked hard throughout the year to get to this point and were prepared throughout the weekend.

“He (Etterbeek) said that you hit one peak,” she said. “And to be prepared for this and that’s what our season is for, we worked really hard.”

The No. 4 doubles team of Amelia Smith and Alex Bowers also claimed a state title for the Cranes, topping the Grand Rapids Christian team of Emily Schellenboom and Rachel Koopman, 3-6, 6-3, 7-5.

Meg Phyle a senior leader for Cranbrook, who competed in the No. 1 doubles for the Cranes and played a role each of the past four state title teams, said that this year’s state championship was a much different feeling than the one Cranbrook had in the past.

“I think it’s just kind of a different feeling,” she said. “For the past few years it was more like ‘Wow, we’re really good individually’ but this year it was more of ‘Wow, we worked so hard to get here’. It’s just a different feeling, I don’t think one felt better or worse.”

After taking the state of Michigan by storm last season, upsetting Najarian, who had won the three previous state titles, in the No. 1 singles state championship match, all eyes were on Williamston’s Sara Daavettila as she looked to repeat this year.

Daavettila once again cruised to a No. 1 Singles state championship as she topped Detroit Country Day’s Sara Hartje 6-0, 6-0 to capture her second straight title.

Daavettila said that the experience of playing last year helped prepare her for this year’s state tournament after playing in high school for the first time as a sophomore.

“It’s definitely different, I faced Alex last year, last year was my first year playing (in high school), so I didn’t really know what to expect,” she said. “This year, I went in knowing what I was doing. It’s been great.”

The 6-0, 6-0 win for the Williamston junior extends her streak of consecutive games won to 295.
That streak very nearly came to an end in the fourth game of the second set as Daavettila trailed 30-40 and later Hartje had advantage, but Daavettila managed to come back to beat Hartje despite nearly losing the game after the ball went off the net.

“I was really lucky,” she said. “I just keep telling myself stay in it, keep going hard, stay intense so I don’t give up any points.”

“It’s lucky,” said Daavettila of the ball going off of the net. “And I’m sorry to Sasha, but it was good. I was happy about that.”

Country Day’s Haley Mullins won the No. 2 singles over Cranbrook’s Emily Harvey, 6-2, 6-0, while Sadina Fadel and Sarah Carroll, also of Country Day won No. 3 and No. 4 singles respectively.

The Grand Rapids Christian team of Hannah Slenk and McKenziee Moorhead grabbed a state title in No. 1 doubles over topped ranked St. Clair, while the top ranked team in No. 3 doubles, Natalie DeBoer and Kate Zwiers of Grand Rapids Christian also claimed a state title.