APTOS — It didn’t come easy, but Kelly McMinn and Teagan Knight are champions.
Aptos’ doubles team of McMinn and Knight took down Scotts Valley’s pair of Desi Rakela and Nicole La Porte 6-5, 7-5(7-0) to bring home the Santa Cruz Coast Athletic League doubles championship.
“I just felt overjoyed, it was amazing,” McMinn said of scoring the final point.
McMinn had made it to the SCCAL doubles final a year ago, but went down to Rakela and her then teammate Serena Strehlke.
This year the crown belonged to McMinn and Knight.
“This feels so good,” McMinn said. “I played Desi last season, and I was looking to win this season, because last year was a disappointment.”
Knight, who played last season as a singles player in the SCCAL tournament, won her second title. Her first came as a freshman with Haley Kepler as her partner.
The duo looked like they were going to cruise to the win early after taking the first three games of the first set, but Scotts Valley came back and made it a good match.
The Mariners’ team ended up winning the first set, but they trailed late at 5-4 in the second.
They fought through the deficit to take the 6-5 lead behind the serving of Knight and volleying of McMinn.
But Scotts Valley had a little fight left in them.
They stayed alive by forcing a tie-break, but McMinn and Knight dominated in the tie break to win the league title, despite only practicing together for a week.
“We just said, ‘we needed to concentrate and get everything in (the court),’” Knight said. “We needed to be more aggressive.”
Knight and McMinn explained that Rakela and La Porte were definitely the toughest team they had played all tournament.
Like McMinn and Knight, the Scotts Valley team had played singles during the regular season, but chose to take their chances in the doubles bracket instead.
With the win, McMinn and Knight qualified for the Central Coast Section playoffs in late November. They both understand that they’ll have a lot of their plate when they face off against the best in the section.
“It’s probably good practice that we played them,” Knight said. “When we move on to CCS we’re going to face tougher teams.”
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