Dixie, Desert Hills, and Snow Canyon finished in a three-way tie atop the Region 9 tennis standings this year after the Thunder downed the Warriors on the road Wednesday afternoon, 4-1.
Despite the 4-1 margin, the contest was in doubt most of the afternoon.
It wasn’t until Desert Hills’ Conner McArthur, playing third singles, and the second doubles team of Christian Davis and Clay Hardy won nearly simultaneously at 5:55 p.m. that the match was clinched.
In the beginning, the match looked far less in doubt, as the Thunder opened by winning the first set in four of the five matches and seemed likely to prevail.
By 5:15 p.m., the victory appeared even more inevitable when Preston Parmenter and Austin Hardy closed out a sweep of Snow Canyon’s Devin Radmall and Hunter McArthur, 6-3, 6-2, in first doubles.
Meanwhile, three courts over, the Thunder’s Gabe Anderson was on the verge of sweeping SC’s Matthew Douglas in first singles. After winning the first set, Anderson led 5-2 in the second set, and Douglas was ready to surrender.
“At that point, I kind of gave up,” Douglas said. “I was angry with how things were going.”
His “giving up,” however, was to focus on just winning the next game. He won that game, and the next and the next, tallying five straight games to win the second set.
“When I was playing, I didn’t even realize that I had won five in a row until it was over,” Douglas said. “That second set was all mental.”
At the same time Douglas was rallying, so was his teammate Trevor Muse. After dropping the first set 6-3 to McArthur, Muse pounded him 6-1 in the second set.
Meanwhile, Snow Canyon’s Matthew Morgan and Logan Wrigley rallied to beat Davis and Hardy 6-3 in the second set to knot their match at one game apiece.
Just like that, three of the four matches in which Desert Hills won the first game were headed to a third set.
But then the Thunder’s fortunes changed. Braden Evans rallied to win his second set against Snow Canyon’s Jon Morgan to send their match to a third set.
That set up a tense 20 minutes until the simultaneous victories by Desert Hills in second doubles and third singles.
Davis closed out the second doubles match with an ace.
At the same time, McArthur, a freshman, blissfully unaware of the stakes, closed out his match with a 6-4 victory in the third set.
“I just tried to keep swinging,” McArthur said of his recovery from a 6-1 loss in the second set to winning the match. “That’s the key, because when I am losing, I don’t swing as consistently, so that’s what I tried to do.”
Douglas gave Snow Canyon its lone win by closing out Anderson with a 6-2 third set.
“I felt like I had the momentum because of how I won the second set, and he was getting down on himself,” Douglas said.
Evans closed out a marathon match against Jonathan Morgan, who was scheduled to play cello at the St. George Tabernacle just minutes later, by winning the third-set tiebreaker, 9-7.
Despite rallying for his win, Douglas was disappointed the Warriors didn’t win the region title outright.
“I thought we were going to pull this one out,” he said. “When we lost to them the first time, we lost 3-2, and I lost to Gabe, so I thought my win might swing it. But on the good side, we are all three-way champs, so we all get a first-place trophy.”
REDMEN 3, TIGERS 2: Cedar’s Zac Coonen defeated Hurricane’s Zac Pickering Wednesday by a score of 6-1, 6-0 at first singles, while Cedar’s Matt Stewart topped the Tigers’ Jon Payne, 6-3, 6-3. Cade Sivertsen battled for a three-set win over Hurricane’s Josh Parker, 6-4, 4-6, 6-2 to complete the singles sweep for the Redmen.
Hurricane, in turn, swept the doubles play with Ben Perkins and Lincoln Last taking down Brayden Boone and Nathan Bauer, 7-6(4), 6-0 and the duo of JD Gates and Blake Lawrence rallied past Cedar’s Kam Sivertsen and Dallin Rice, 4-6, 6-0, 6-4.