GLENDALE – After nearly three-and-a-half hours of tennis Saturday, Abby Cochran was so delighted to join her celebrating teammates that she left her racket on the court.
All the while her coach, Kristie Stevens, was fighting back tears.
That’s because Cochran won her team’s deciding singles match as second-seeded Catalina Foothills won the Class 4A Division I state team title 5-4 over No. 4 Scottsdale Chaparral, securing the team’s ninth championship at the school this decade.
With the match tied 4-4, the No. 5 singles pairing competed under the watch of all in attendance. Cochran topped Chaparral’s Lauren Harrison 6-2, 6-3.
“It feels good to pull it out for my team,” she said.
Catalina Foothills had won the team portion of the state championship every year since 2000 – until last season when Chaparral ended the streak.
After losing two of three doubles matches, Catalina Foothills needed to dominate singles play.
“That was a lot of pressure on the girls, and they all came through.” Stevens said.
Fourth-seeded Chaparral’s attempt at a clean sweep of the postseason’s singles, doubles and team titles was derailed as its top three players were defeated in crucial matches.
State champs in doubles, Molly Ruby and Elizabeth Hammond couldn’t hold onto a 5-4 lead and lost 8-6 to Catalina Foothills’ Zaina Sufi and Sam Ruth.
Sufi also beat rival Nikki Parker 6-1, 6-2 one week after the reverse occurred in the state singles final.
“It’s great coming back and winning after a loss to her and especially because she’s such a great player,” Sufi said.