SK's Davison captures state title

Amanda Taylor’s reign is over and Stephanie Davison’s has begun.

Davison, a sophomore at South Kitsap, stopped Taylor’s quest for a fourth Class 4A state tennis title Saturday, beating the three-time defending champ from Richland 7-5, 7-5 in the finals of the tournament played at University High School in Spokane.

“I haven’t really thought about it much yet,” Davison said. “I’m sure it will sink in after a while.”

More than winning the state title, Davison also handed Taylor the first loss of her entire high school career. Taylor had upped her prep record to a remarkable 133-0 with a 4-6, 6-0, 7-5 win over Suzie Matzenhauer of Bellarmine Prep in an epic semifinal match.

Fighting the wind and rain as well as Taylor, Davison took the first set and jumped out to a 5-1 lead in the second before Taylor mounted a comeback.

“She started off pretty slow,” Davison said. “But she started making less mistakes and I started getting anxious.”

Taylor roared back to tie the set at five all, getting the crowd back into the match — something Davison had hoped to avoid.

The state tournament was held in Taylor’s hometown of Richland last year and Davison had said before the trip she was happy to be going to Spokane. Taylor had a definite home-court advantage last year.

“Everyone was cheering her on,” Davison said. “But I tried not to let that get to me.”

Davison closed out the match by winning the final two games and ended Taylor’s reign as Washington’s tennis queen.

The weather played a bit part in the match Davison said. She had entered the tournament on a huge roll, with a serve coach Todd Olson said was the best he’d ever seen out of his young phenom.

“With the wind and the rain, it was kind of hard to get a serve in,” Davison said. “I had to put a lot of spin on it to get it in.

“I made a few mistakes on and off but I played pretty well,” Davison said. “But with the wind and everything it’s hard to say (if I played my best). I probably was not playing my very best.”

Davison, who lost to Taylor in the finals last year, cruised through her bracket on the way to the finals.

Davison lost just one game on the tournament’s first day, rolling over Marie Demerath of Inglemoor 6-0, 6-0 before knocking off Olympic’s Erica Feltus 6-0, 6-1. Davison then beat longtime foe Iliana Petrova in the semifinals.

With her first state title under her belt, Davison said she thinks she can roll off three in a row just like Taylor did.

“I believe so,” she said.

But with so many matches played at the national junior level, Davison has put her state title in perspective in her own way.

“I keep my matches in seperate catagories,” she said. “There’s my high school matches and my national matches. I keep those seperated.”

Davison and her parents were to flew back to Port Orchard after Saturday’s final and she said she’s taking a “tiny break” before heading off for a couple of big tournaments this summer.

The SK boys doubles tandem of Adam Bennett and Elliott Hulscher saw their dreams of a state title fade quickly with an opening round 6-3, 2-6, 6-3 loss to Zach Gordon and Tyler Stocker of Snohomish.

The pair then beat Toma Matson and Owen Gehrett of Auburn 3-6, 6-4, 7-6 before bowing out of the tournament with a 6-4, 6-2 loss to Charlie McGovern and Stanislav Kindle of Stadium.

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