The Nease Panthers girls tennis team left their mark on the 2023 state tennis tournament with a couple of memorable performances that went deep into the tournament.
Sophomore Kylie Kochis was at the center of all the excitement as she finished runner-up in Class 4A as an individual and teamed up with another young talent in freshman Blair Murray to finish as runner-up in the girls doubles competition.
Kochis was one of six players to have a bye in the first round and her first action came in the quarterfinals.
She showed great resilience despite being only near the end of her sophomore year, as she came back and used a tiebreaker to win in three sets in both the quarterfinals and semifinals.
Although she lost 6-2, 6-1 to Alyssa Novoa in the final, she learned what it takes to make it to that point in the tournament, which should serve her well next season.
In the doubles portion, Kochis and Murray proved to be quite the tandem on the court as they breezed to victory without losing a set in the quarterfinal and then won in straight sets again in the semifinals, 7-5, 7-5 despite facing increased pressure.
They lost the final match 7-5, 6-2, but just like Kochis had in the singles tournament, they showed that they were talented and unfazed by the brights lights of the big stage and that is a dangerous combination moving forward.
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