DuBOIS — St. Marys’ Sarah Casey captured her third straight District 9 Class AA Singles championship on Tuesday at DuBois High School with a quick 6-1, 6-1 win over Punxsutawney’s Kaitlin Ray.
Casey, a senior this year, also defeated a Punxsutawney player in Amber Ward for her first championship as a sophomore in 2014. She beat Brockway’s Zoie Reitz last year as a junior.
“It’s amazing for her,” said St. Marys coach David Lion. “It’s really an amazing accomplishment to be able to do that. There’s quite a few good tennis players in District 9. I’m very proud of her. I think she played intelligent. I think she did what was required of her today to get through Kaitlyn Ray.”
“It’s such a great opportunity just to be able to play,” said Casey after being presented with her gold medal. “I think the district does a really good job setting this tournament up.
“I’ve played (Ray) for these past three years and she’s been the most polite person. I love playing against her. We had a lot of great rallies. The score might not reflect that, but they were strong rallies.”
Casey had got to the finals yesterday via a first-round bye, a 10-1 win over Brockway’s Taylor Raybuck in the quarterfinals and a 6-0, 6-2 win over Elk County Catholic’s Maria Hoh in the semifinals.
Ray, who also had a first-round bye yesterday, defeated St. Marys’ Jessica Jordan, 10-3, in the quarters, and Elk County Catholic’s Emma Coppolo, 6-0, 6-0 in the semis.
Casey won the coin toss before the match and chose to serve first, and did so succesfully before breaking Ray for a 2-0 lead.
But Ray took the break right back before Casey rattled off the next four games to take the first set.
Casey jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the second set before dealing with some struggles in her serving game. In the only game she lost in the second set, Casey double faulted three times.
Still, the experience showed as Casey took the next three games to take the second set, 6-1.
“I just kind of shook it off,” said Casey. “I kind of had to tell myself to calm down, think about what you’re doing and watch the ball.”
“Kaitlyn Ray played a pretty good match, but I think there was just a bit more experience on our side of the court,” said Lion.
“It’s just a great day for St. Marys tennis. She started long before I was around. I think that’s evident with what she’s achieved in the sport.”
Casey advanced to the PIAA Championships on Nov. 4-5 at the Hershey Racquet Club, and she will have plenty of time to work until then while also participating in the District 9 Team Tournaments.
“I’ll be practicing a lot,” said Casey. “I want to mainly hit with people that are a lot better than me.”
“I know we have some things to work on before Hershey, but we’re looking forward to being there again,” said Lion.
“I couldn’t be more proud of her. Hopefully we can make this happen again for doubles.”
The District 9 Doubles Tournament will be held on Monday. St. Marys hosts Brockway in the team tournament semifinals on Oct. 12.