Dublin Coffman’s Turvy ready to defend Division I tennis title; Junior has won 112 straight sets

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Dublin Coffman’s Kate Turvy
Looking purely at the numbers, Kate Turvy is one of the most dominant
high school players Ohio has seen in recent years. She becomes even
more unique when you ask her about how she plays matches. The diminutive Dublin Coffman junior has won 56 consecutive matches
over the past two seasons. Turvy has not dropped a set since losing in
the state semifinals as a freshman, a streak of 112 straight set wins.


DUBLIN – Looking purely at the numbers, Kate Turvy is one of the most dominant high school players Ohio has seen in recent years. She becomes even more so when you ask her about how she plays matches.

The diminutive Dublin Coffman junior has won 56 consecutive matches over the past two seasons. Turvy has not dropped a set since losing in the state semifinals as a freshman, a streak of 112 straight set wins.

When she begins the 2007 OHSAA Division I tournament Friday at Ohio State, the defending champ brings with her a career high school record of 83-4, with one of the loses coming by default

“Kate’s just on a different level,” Coffman coach David Drees said. “Baring injury she’s pretty much unbeatable.”

Turvy wrapped up her third consecutive Central District title last weekend, losing a grand total of four games over four matches. In Saturday’s final she defeated Upper Arlington freshman Nikki Flower, considered by most to be Columbus’ second-best player, by a score of 6-2, 6-1.

Playing for Dublin Jerome last year, Turvy won her first state championship, beating three seniors along the way. The then-sophomore’s closest set was 6-3.

If the ’07 champion is anyone other than Turvy, it will be considered a major surprise and the weight of those expectations is not lost on the player herself.

“It’s a different type of pressure this year,” said Turvy, ranked 60th nationally and second in the Midwest by the USTA in the girls 18s. “It’s more trying to prove to myself that I can do it again.”

What is perhaps most interesting about Turvy is that wins, even lopsided ones, are not how she determines success in her play for Coffman. Though a state title this weekend would be cause for celebration regardless of the score, in almost all of her matches the competition is not across the net.

Given that she is on a higher plane than 99-percent of Ohio’s players, the goal for Turvy isn’t just to win her matches; it’s to play as close to perfect as possible.

“Her goal every match is to win 0 and 0,” said Scott Welsh, a pro based out of Wedgewood who works as Turvy’s private instructor. “That’s no disrespect to Kate’s opponents, but she is trying to execute at such a high level that she wins every game. The question for her every time out is: Can you get better?”

Standing only 5-foot-3, the 16-year-old Turvy plays primarily from the baseline. Welsh compared her to Michael Chang, a smaller player able to beat opponents with athleticism and court-coverage.

“If she wasn’t one of the fastest players I’ve ever seen there would be no way she’d be able to play big-time tennis,” Welsh said. “There’s not a ball you can hit that she can’t get to. What that does to opponents psychologically, it’s almost impossible to quantify.”

Turvy said she knows that most of her opponents in the high school ranks can be beaten just by getting the ball back and waiting for a mistake. But if she wants to continue to climb the national rankings and have a significant college career (Ohio State, Notre Dame and Vanderbilt are interested), she will have to win the points herself rather than wait for others to lose them.

“I try to do things that I will have to do when I’m playing the better players,” Turvy said. “When I’m playing top players (being consistent) won’t be enough. I try to set myself up to hit more aggressive shots.”

Drees said what most people don’t know about Turvy is how hard she is on herself. He mentioned a recent win over New Albany’s Maddie Kobelt as an example. Turvy beat Kobelt 6-2, 6-2, but was incredibly disappointed afterwards.

“You’re talking about one of the top players in Ohio,” Drees said of Kobelt. “But Kate wasn’t happy about the way she played. She thought her footwork was slow and she didn’t like how she served.

“She wasn’t being prideful, she’s just a perfectionist. If she gets beat, she gets beat; Kate just doesn’t want to give any points away.”

When semifinal and finals play move from OSU’s Stickney Center to Hilliard Davidson Saturday, the expected route to the trophy for Turvy will be through Perrysburg’s Julia Metzger and Ritchfield Revere senior Stephanie Danesis.

“I think it looks pretty tough,” Turvy said of her draw. “Even my first couple matches I’m going to face some good players.”

But, Turvy said, the bulls-eye on her back makes the experience more enjoyable.

“It’s going to be fun,” Turvy said. “It’s exciting to be the favorite.”

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