Heading into the state tennis tournament this fall, Kate Turvy would
have told you she wasn't sure about continuing her high school tennis
career beyond this, her junior year at Dublin Coffman High School. After what transpired in the Division I singles final on a windy
October afternoon in Hilliard, it's now hard to believe Turvy – named the Huntington Bank/Ohio High Player of the Year in girls tennis – will be able to stay away.
Heading into the state tennis tournament this fall, Kate Turvy would have told you she wasn't sure about continuing her high school tennis career beyond this, her junior year at Dublin Coffman High School.
After what transpired in the Division I singles final on a windy October afternoon in Hilliard, it's now hard to believe Turvy – named the Huntington Bank/Ohio High Player of the Year in girls tennis — will be able to stay away.
The No. 1 player in Ohio, Turvy is currently ranked in the top 50 of the USTA's December national girls 18s standing.
Players of that caliber rarely elect to play high school tennis at all, given that 99 percent of the matches they will play don't present even the slightest challenge. The vast majority of Turvy's set wins since she began her high school career have been 6-0, and she doesn't often let opponents score three points in a game.
But when asked in December about her plans for next fall, the two-time defending Division I singles champion sounded firm in her resolve to try for No. 3.
“Right now, I'm definitely planning on playing again,” said Turvy, who would take a 59-match winning streak into the 2008 season. “It's not 100 percent, but unless something changes I'm going to play.”
Since she fell in the state semifinals as a freshman, Turvy has won every one of the 118 sets she has played in a high school uniform.
But the emotion and energy of Turvy's 6-1, 7-5 victory over Stephanie Danesis on Oct. 20 in the D-I singles final at Davidson might have counteracted every one of the laughers that went before it.
“I've never seen her like that,” Coffman coach David Drees said after the match, after Turvy had overcome blustering winds, a failing serve and the size of the moment to battle back from 4-1 down to capture the title.
Danesis, like Turvy, a top junior talent (the Akron resident is ranked No. 2 among Ohio players by the USTA), was on top of her game early in that second set and had Turvy on the ropes for the first time in more than two years of high school play.
In an effort to simply keep her the ball in play, the Dublin baseliner started points on her serve underhand. It was a tactic she had used before, but only to overcome injury.
With her biggest weakness now weaker than ever, Turvy’s set-streak and the state championship appeared to hang in the balance after five games of the set.
It was at that point that a competitive light was flipped in Turvy's head and the Lilliputian righty began physically and verbally willing herself back into the match.
In a move that drew the ire of both Danesis and the Richfield Revere coach, Turvy started screaming “come on!” and pumping her fist after virtually ever single point. Turvy would scream out loud and practically leap towards her chair before changeovers. It was electric. And it was working.
“It was the greatest thing I've ever seen,” Drees said. “She got better the more excited she got. It was just one of those things where Kate took it to a level she’s never been to before.”
Turvy's private coach, Wedgewood pro Scott Welsh, stood and watched the drama unfold with giddy excitement and pleasant surprise.
“I don't think she's ever done this,” Welsh said of the verbal outbursts. “She's just fired up.”
Though unapologetic for her actions, Turvy stressed after the match that the emotion was not aimed at her opponent.
“Winning a state championship is really important to me,” she said afterwards. “I was really excited to be there, I had a lot of energy and I had to show it.
It's hard to describe, but you can’t keep that much energy inside you.”
The question now is what a senior Turvy will be able to manage for an encore.