After coming up short and having to watch Pine View take the region title last year, Desert Hills’ Madz Eames vowed to lead the team to greatness during her final senior season.
“Seeing how much fun they (PV) had really made me hungry this year to go out and play as a team and to cheer everybody on,” Eames said. “We’ve always had the talent, but for some reason we haven’t been able to put it all together until this year. We’ve really worked on pushing ourselves and it’s been paying off.”
It certainly has as Desert Hills not only won first and third singles, but first and second doubles as well to lead the Thunder to the region title.
“It’s amazing, I can’t even begin to describe it,” Eames said about winning the region. “That has been our goal since the start of the season and it means so much to me to see everyone’s work come together like this.”
Eames went up against Snow Canyon’s Franchesca Eklund in a battle of the top two seeds in first singles.
It was a back and forth battle, but in the end, Eames made a couple more plays to escape with a 7-5, 4-6, 6-4 win.
After getting treatment on her shoulder two weeks ago, Eames has been playing her best tennis of the season and would love nothing more than to have a rematch against Franchesca at state next week.
“I love playing against her (Franchesca) because she’s so honest, and we’re both so competitive. We’re both pretty evenly matched and it would be awesome if we can both end up in the finals at state next week.”
After playing two full days at Tonaquint Park Friday and Saturday, Desert Hills coach Dow Christenson said the theme of his team this week was never giving up.
“I’m so proud of them,” Christenson said about the Lady Thunder. “They all dug down deep when it got tough and showed their toughness and mental game. There were a lot of sets where we got down early, but they kept battling and were able to pull it out.”
In second doubles, sophomore Abbie Carmack and freshman Lyndsie Graf overcame a 2-5 deficit in the second set to get the tie-breaking win 6-2, 7-6 (5).
“That second set was tough,” Carmack said. “We just needed to keep calm and once we did that we were able to get back to our game.”
“Whenever we get down, Abby is definitely the peacekeeper,” Graf added.
With the win, Graf and Carmack remained undefeated in region play this year.
Maddie Barton and Erica Evans outlasted Dixie’s Kelli Stovall and Jaylee Watson 6-3, 3-6, 6-2 to give the Thunder the doubles sweep.
“Kelli and Jaylee are a great team and made us earn every point,” Barton said.
“We focused on moving our feet more and getting to every ball that we could and that’s what made the difference in the third set,” Evans added.
Brielle Neilsen, the No. 1 seed, took home the top honors in second singles for Snow Canyon after defeating Lily Hemenway, the No. 2 seed 6-2, 6-2.
The state championship will take place Oct. 9-10 in Salt Lake City.
Follow Justin Giles on Twitter @Justingiles22.