Marisa Deininger has learned a few things since she last had a chance to play for a state high school girls tennis championship in singles.
Deininger put those lessons to good use last month, winning the N.C. High School Athletic Association’s 1A state singles title Oct. 31 at the Cary Tennis Center.
Deininger, a junior at Community School of Davidson, routed Morgan Blount of Durham’s Voyager Academy 6-1, 6-0 in the championship match to win her second straight NCHSAA state title. She teamed with Courtney Mudge to win the 1A state doubles championship in 2014.
But it was a match in 2013 that helped Deininger win this year’s NCHSAA singles title. Just a freshman at CSD at the time, Deininiger advanced to the 1A singles final, only to lose to Mudge in a two-set battle, 7-6 (7-3), 7-6 (7-2).
“She was the No. 1 player on the team,” Deininger said. “It was really hard playing my teammate, because she was such a good friend. But I took that as a maturity moment and tried to play with the best attitude possible, both last year and this year.”
Deininger was one of three players from Lake Norman-area schools to win NCHSAA state individual titles. Sisters Hannah and Olivia Archer, of Lake Norman Charter, won their second straight 2A state doubles title.
The Archer sisters swept Salisbury’s Kayla Honeycutt and Kathryn Rusher in straight sets, 6-0, 6-0, in the final. Honeycutt and Rusher beat Lake Norman Charter’s Zoe Panizza and Emily Chrisman 6-1, 6-1 in the semifinals, while the Archers beat Sarah Yuan and Annie Xie of N.C. School of Science and Math, 6-1, 6-0.
Lake Norman Charter’s Lauren Bush finished second in the 2A singles tournament, losing in the final to Maiden’s Zoe Huffman 6-0, 6-4. Bush had advanced to the final by beating teammate Lauren Loveless 6-2, 6-2, while Huffman beat Durham School of the Arts’ Rachel Rice 6-0, 6-2 in the semifinals.
Lake Norman’s Lauren Gish advanced to the semifinals of the 4A singles tournament before losing to eventual state champ Suzanne Boyden of Raleigh Wakefield, 6-2, 6-1.
Ranked among the state’s top 30 singles players on the junior circuit, Deininger had a good idea about what the competition would be like during her run through the state tournament.
“The girl I played in the finals at the regionals (Lydia Miller of Matthews’ Queens Grant) … she had played in tournaments that I had played in, but I had never seen her before,” Deininger said.
“She wound up being my hardest match – we went three sets, but I ended up winning. I lost the first set 3-6 but won the next two sets 6-0, 6-1. She was my hardest competition in both the regionals and the states.”
Deininger did not lose a set in her three state tournament matches, and only lost three games total in the six sets played.
A senior next year, Deininger said that she may go for a second state doubles title. She plans to team up with Eliza Robinson in doubles next season.
“I’m still deciding what I want to do next year,” Deininger said. “If Eliza wants to play doubles, then we should definitely try it since it’ll be our senior year.”
Bill Kiser is a freelance writer: firstname.lastname@example.org