Cardinal Gibbons is making state championships look easy.
The Crusaders didn’t even need to go to doubles in the N.C. High School Athletic Association 3A girls’ tennis final against Asheville High, sweeping the last five singles matches to clobber the Cougars 5-1 on Saturday at Piedmont Tennis Center.
It was the Crusaders’ second straight championship and third in the sport since it joined the NCHSAA. The result was Gibbons’ third state title of the day following a sweep of the cross-country races.
The finals had originally been scheduled for the Burlington Tennis Center, but were moved indoors because of the wet weather.
As a result, there were only eight courts available, and four were used for the 4A finals in which Panther Creek rolled Charlotte’s Myers Park 6-0.
“We’ve got a very talented team, no doubt,” Crusaders coach Andrew Tuttle said. “I could tell that from the start of the season. There were a lot of girls back this year from last year, and they were all improved.
“They worked really hard in the offseason. When we came back this year obviously this was our goal to try to repeat and win the championship again, so I’m just really proud of them.”
Asheville coach Erin Mosher said the Crusaders were just too strong for her West champions.
“They’re just an amazing team,” Mosher said. “They have awesome players. My players excelled in some of the points they played today, but (Gibbons’) level is so much better than ours.
“We do have the best (3A) player in the state and she proved it today. The next few years at Asheville High are going to be pretty good.”
Gibbons easily won three of the first four matches, with only No. 1 senior Devin Knors falling to the Cougars’ sophomore state singles champ Adrienne Haynes 6-1, 6-1.
Tournament MVP sophomore Lizzie Galush blanked Sena Mucklow 6-0, 6-0 at No. 2, while freshman Jenna Knors blew past Kristie Kim 6-0, 6-1 at No. 3, and senior Natalie Freeman topped Mary Hamrick 6-0, 6-2 at No. 4.
“We wanted to win the five singles (two through six) and not play doubles,” Galush said. “This is really great. Everyone on our team is really talented and we work well together. Now we’ll see what we can do next year.”
The Knors sisters had won the state 3A doubles title a week ago, but no doubles matches were necessary.
The second group of matches got the job done quickly. Junior Summer Jacobs shut out the Cougars’ Jamie Waggoner 6-0, 6-0 at No. 5 before sophomore Kate Freed finished with a 6-1, 6-0 win against Rosemary Mosher at No. 6.
“It was great to get the last match,” Freed said. “This has been really fun to do two years in a row. We knew No. 1 would be tough, but we were hoping we could get the other five singles. I’m just really proud of our school. All these state championships are awesome.”