Emery, Dons doubles take Channel League titles

Buena's Caisey Lee Emerson returns a volley on Thursday. (Presidio Sports Photos)

Buena’s Caisey Lee Emery returns a volley on Thursday. (Presidio Sports Photos)


Caisey Lee Emery brought a Channel League singles championship to Buena for the first time in over 20 years, while Santa Barbara High’s Madison Hale and Mattea Kilstofte dominated the doubles tournament on Thursday to win the league title at Knowlwood Tennis Club.

Emery played nearly error-free tennis to defeat Santa Barbara High’s Summer Garrison 6-2, 6-3 in the singles final.

Caisey Lee Emery reacts to winning the singles championship.

Caisey Lee Emery reacts to winning the singles championship.

“I definitely felt good on my overheads. I don’t think I missed one actually. But I thought first-serve percentage was good, percentage of shots was good. Yeah, I thought I played pretty well,” Emery said.

Emery and Garrison had just played two weeks ago in a tournament with Garrison winning. This time Emery felt like she played less inhibited.

“I thought I played so aggressively out of my mind. I was so, just like, ‘if I’m gonna lose, I’m gonna lose swinging, you know, I’m gonna go all out,'” Emery said.

Emery grabbed the first set 6-2. The players were on serve in the second set at 3-3 when Emery broke Garrison to take a 4-3 lead. Emery then held serve to take a 5-3 lead, finishing off the game with a difficult winner that touched the line. Garrison hung in, fighting off multiple match points in the final game before the end.

“I’m mentally exhausted. I want to go to sleep now,” Emery said.

Santa Barbara High's Summer Garrison

Santa Barbara High’s Summer Garrison

The doubles final featured a matchup between the defending league champions and the two singles finalists from last year. DP’s Yang and Egger couldn’t repeat, however, as Hale and Kilstofte adapted quickly to playing together and won 6-2, 6-0.

“I love playing doubles,” Kilstofte said. “It’s completely different and you always have someone there so it’s not quite as intense. It’s just more fun.”

The Dons team won four matches on its way to the title by a combined game score of 48-3.

“I think our games compliment each other a lot,” Hale said. “Mattea is really strong from the backcourt and she was volleying really awesome today but I love the net.”

In four years playing for the Dons, Hale and Kilstofte rarely got to play doubles together because head coach Greg Tebbe needed their strength in his singles lineup. Getting six points from the pair is better than three of course.

But Tebbe wanted to give the two friends the chance to play together in the league tournament. He’s looking forward to seeing what they can do in the CIF Tournament as well.

“They’ve always wanted to play doubles together,” Tebbe said. “This is their senior year, they expressed an interest to do this, and I think they have a really good chance to actually go very far in the CIF Tournament.”

The teammates just announced their verbal commitments to play collegiately. Kilstofte is going to University of Dayton and Hale chose UC San Diego.

Yang and Egger knocked off Santa Barbara’s Lexy Gulden and Cade Sorensen in the doubles semifinal 6-1, 6-4. Hale and Kilstofte topped Dos Pueblos’ Catherine Wang and Chloe Shott 6-0, 6-0 in the other semi.

The Dons and Chargers teams begin CIF next week. The CIF Individual Tournament doesn’t begin until November 24.