Sammi Pedersen and Justine Daane weren’t even doubles partners when the girls tennis season started.
The Green Bay Southwest duo finished as one of the best teams in the state.
Their ride finally ended in a 6-3, 6-1 loss to No. 1-seeded Sophia Lococo and Anna Kreynin of Mequon Homestead in the WIAA Division 1 state championship match Saturday afternoon at Nielsen Tennis Stadium.
Pedersen and Daane are just the second girls team from Southwest to reach the title match and the first since 1997.
They were seeded seventh when the tournament started Thursday, but the juniors won four times on their way to the title match. It included a straight-set quarterfinal win over the Divine Savior Holy Angels team of Maddy Henderson and Mary Newby, who entered as the No. 2 seed.
“I was expecting us to get pretty far,” Pedersen said. “I wasn’t expecting us to get all the way to the championship match.”
For a short time, it looked like they might win the title.
Pedersen and Daane went up 3-1 in the first set against Lococo and Kreynin, who finished the season 34-0.
Lococo and Kreynin quickly turned it on, only dropping one game the rest of the way.
“That team just took it to a different level, as they should,” Southwest coach Randy Nelson said. “They are a really accomplished team.
“I think the biggest thing is that we hit some solid, solid shots and they got a racket on everything. They got balls back that we weren’t expecting to come back. That’s really who they were.”
Pedersen started the season as one of the Trojans’ top singles players, but she struggled a bit. The decision was made to team her with Daane, and the move paid off in a big way.
The two now have to get prepared for the team state tournament this week, but what they accomplished on the individual stage won’t soon be forgotten.
“It was just super exciting,” Pedersen said. “It’s pretty crazy how far we have gotten.”
Green Bay Notre Dame singles standout Ellie Zimmermann came up short in her attempt to win a second straight Division 2 individual state championship.
The sophomore entered as the No. 1 seed, but her title bid ended with a 7-6 (5), 3-6, 6-3 semifinal loss to No. 4 seed Ali Pollack of the University School of Milwaukee.
Pollack followed by beating teammate Maddy Ecker in the championship match, while Zimmermann beat Wausau Newman’s Grace Larrain 6-1, 6-2 in the third-place match.
Zimmerman finished the season 26-1.