Athletics

Finnegan wins fourth straight state title

Leigh Finnegan cemented her place in history Wednesday, but her younger sister didn't make things easy.

In the girls first-singles championship of the Delaware High School Tennis Tournament at the University of Delaware, Finnegan completed her high school career without losing a match or a set. Her 6-4, 6-3 win against younger sister Jordan Finnegan of Archmere was her fourth straight state title at first singles.
NEWARK -- Leigh Finnegan cemented her place in history Wednesday, but her younger sister didn't make things easy.

In the girls first-singles championship of the Delaware High School Tennis Tournament at the University of Delaware, Finnegan completed her high school career without losing a match or a set. Her 6-4, 6-3 win against younger sister Jordan Finnegan of Archmere was her fourth straight state title at first singles.

Before Leigh Finnegan, only one boy and one girl had ever accomplished the feat since the tournament started using the five-bracket format: Friends' Brint Morrow (1989 to '92) and, in the four years before Finnegan, Katherine Bushey of St. Mark's.

The Finnegan-Finnegan showdown this year was much more competitive than the 6-1, 6-1 final a year ago, when it appeared the sisters were afraid to play each other aggressively.

That wasn't the case this time. It may have been her sister on the other side of the net, but Jordan Finnegan wanted a title of her own and held the lead three times in the first set before it went to 4-4. Leigh Finnegan then won the last two games at love to close out the set.

In the second set, Jordan Finnegan led 2-0 and 3-1 before Leigh Finnegan swept the last five games, winning 20 of the final 25 points.

"She came out firing," Leigh Finnegan said about the challenge her younger sister provided. "She didn't let down and fought hard the whole way. It's tough playing your sister, and it was nice that we both made it to the final and that I could play her for my last high school tennis match."

Jordan Finnegan, a sophomore, had only won seven games combined in three high school matches against her older sister before Wednesday. She said she could put up such a challenge because of someone she's practiced with so often over the years -- her sister.

"I stuck with her better than I have before, and tried not to think about leading because I didn't want to take anything for granted," the younger Finnegan said. "She's a fighter and I knew she wouldn't quit, so I just kept the pressure on and took it point by point. We hit a lot and I don't know what I'm going to do without her next year. She helps me with my game tremendously."

The win by Leigh Finnegan was part of a five-bracket sweep by the Hillers. Tower Hill scored a perfect 30 points in the tournament, as all of the Hillers' singles players and doubles teams won championships Wednesday. They combined to go 80-1 this season.

Marta Drane's win at second singles was the fourth state title in her career. She was also second singles state champ in 2003 and '05, and third-singles state champ in 2004. Tower Hill eighth-grader Lucy Nutting won the third-singles bracket.

The Hillers' winners at first doubles were Susanne Singer and Gabrielle Pound, with Lucy McMurry and Morgan Beard winning the second-doubles title.
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