SOUTH BURLINGTON – Skyler Graves’ rise to the top of women’s high school tennis in Vermont was officially stamped on Saturday.
But only after Stowe’s senior survived a long-respected foe.
The unflappable Graves didn’t budge against powerful serves and ground shots from Burlington senior Ruby Wool, taking a straight-set victory, 6-4, 6-4, to win the Individual State Tournament at Burlington Tennis Club.
Avenging his regular-season loss to Wool earlier this month and solving the tournament’s three-day challenge for the first time – after a quarter-final outing in 2018 and a semi-final setback in 2019 – Graves did not lost a set and only lost eight games in his six games.
“I fought for four years of my high school career and had no idea I would be the champion someday,” Graves said. “It’s amazing. I can’t believe it.”
Graves is the first Stowe player to win the individual state title in the tournament’s 25-year history.
“From her freshman year, when she wasn’t sure if she was going to play tennis or lacrosse, she has really grown as a player over the past four years and loves (tennis),” said Joanna Graves. , Skyler’s mother and trainer.
In Saturday’s final, Skyler Graves opened up a 4-0 lead and broke Wool’s serve to clinch the first set. A backhand winner gave Graves a 5-4 advantage in the second set as Wool made a comeback offer.
“I always say she’s a chess player,” Joanna Graves said of her daughter. “She knows what to do, she can hit the ball when she needs to, she can hold it deep so someone can’t throw her back.”
“One of the things she did really well today, she took away Ruby’s mighty serve.”
Skyler Graves lost in a third set tiebreaker to Wool in the players’ only regular season game on May 15. Graves and Wool have faced each other since they were 6 years old.
“It literally took all of my energy,” Graves said of Saturday’s win.
Stowe also won the doubles crown, the program’s first since 2009. The duo of Gabby Doehla and Kate Tilgner defeated Anna Jenemann and Libby Westbrook of Burlington, 6-2, 7-5.
Doehla and Tilgner are Stowe’s # 4 and # 5 singles players. But with limits on individual team entries, Doehla and Tilgner entered in tandem for the doubles field. They won their four matches in straight sets.
“It was amazing to see their doubles game grow since the start of this tournament,” said Joanna Graves. “That’s why I love this tournament.”
Koszo repeats, BHS duo wins double
St. Johnsbury’s Mate Koszo won a new title and Theodore Schulman and Sam Silberman secured Burlington’s first doubles crown in more than two decades as the men’s individual tournament wrapped up Saturday at Leddy Park.
Koszo, the 2019 state champion, beat two opponents of Essex in straight sets on Saturday to retain his championship. A native of Hungry, Koszo defeated David Knickerbocker (6-4, 6-2) before beating Aidan Jensen, sixth seed, in the final (7-5, 6-3).
Jensen had qualified for the final after knocking out No. 2 seeded Eric Bhave of Mount Mansfield in a third set tiebreaker (6-4, 1-6, 13-11).
Koszo, who will attend American University in the fall, is the seventh player to win multiple singles titles in tournament history, according to meet director Damon Fitch.
In doubles, Schulman and Silberman outscored Moises Zetane and Ivan Garza of St. Johnsbury in the morning semifinals (6-3, 7-5), then defeated Bo Graves and Woody Reichelt of Stowe in the third set (6-1 , 1) -6, 10-7) to claim material.
It was Burlington’s first men’s doubles title since 1998, and fourth overall.
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