South Xtra: Lebo's Frey targets state title

HIGH SCHOOL TENNIS / WPIAL CHAMPIONSHIPS


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Callie Frey still thinks about what happened Nov. 3, 2012.

On that day, the Blue Devils senior lost her only match during the 2012 high school season, 7-5, 6-3, to Plymouth Whitemarsh's Cristina Kaiser.

Unfortunately for Frey, it happened to be in the biggest match of the season, the PIAA Class AAA singles championship.

But luckily, Frey has one more opportunity this season to capture the gold in Hershey.

"The loss makes me want to win even more," Frey said.

Frey took another step toward accomplishing her goal of winning a state title last week by winning the WPIAL Class AAA singles championship for the second consecutive season. She defeated Marlys Bridgham of Pine-Richland in the final, 3-6, 6-1, 6-2.

Frey joined Kelly Kolankiewicz as Blue Devils who won back-to-back WPIAL singles titles. Kolankiewicz actually won three WPIAL titles from 1982-84 and added the 1982 and '83 PIAA titles.

"It feels amazing," Frey said. "I'm so happy to [win back-to-back titles]. I actually met the lady [Kolankiewicz] who won 29 years ago. She just saw me play somehow. ... It was cool meeting her."

Frey had to battle hard for the second title. Bridgham came out aggressively, rallying from an early 2-1 deficit to win four points in a row on the way to a first-set victory.

It was the first set Frey had dropped in an official match this season, although Frey did drop a set to Bridgham in an exhibition match a month earlier.

"I wanted to keep the ball deep and consistent, until I was able to take my shot and close," Bridgham said. "I think I did that really well in the first set."

Frey looked frustrated a few times in the first set, but regrouped in between sets, as she talked with her coach and refueled with a banana.

"I ate the banana because I wasn't feeling so well in the first set," Frey said. "It gave me energy, too, so that was good."

Whatever she did worked, because Frey looked like a different player the rest of the match. She scored the first five points of the second set and five of the first six in the third set.

The biggest change was her ability to hold serve. After being broken three times in the first set, she held serve every time the rest of the match.

Now Frey will prepare for the WPIAL team competition, which will begin in October. Mt. Lebanon hasn't advanced to the state tournament since 2010.

After that, she will play in Hershey Nov. 1-2 to try and avenge last season's loss.

Frey said she actually beat Kaiser, who is also a senior this year, a month after her state final loss, but also hopes to get revenge at the PIAA tournament.

"If I play her, I hope to beat her this time," Frey said. "But I don't know who I'm going to play against, so hopefully I'll make it far and win states this time."

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