Annabelle Adams was so close. She made it to the Class 4A Singles Championship Match but her body was not having it. After playing in a three-hour thriller of a match in the semifinals, Adams’ body tightened up on her, leading to the unfortunate turn as she fell to Emma Montovani from Wichita Collegiate in three sets (7-5, 3-6, 1-6).
“I honestly don’t think I was properly conditioned enough for that [semifinal] match,” Adams said.
Adams beat Collegiate’s other singles player, Sonya Murphy in three sets (6-4, 4-6, 7-5) to get to the Championship Match. Last season, the semifinal is where Adams fell, ultimately finishing third. This season, as a junior, she powered through the semifinal match, setting up the match with Montovani.
“I think I panicked a bit,” Adams said. “I had it in my mind that [semifinal] match is the one I had to win."
Adams had to go through 10 match points before finally beating Murphy. Adams who jumped out 4-1 in the first set against Murphy, held on 6-4. Murphy won the next set 6-4 but really dictated the entire tempo, putting Adams back on her heels, forcing her into long slice shots that set up Murphy for easy winners.
After Adams went up 5-2 in the third set, it was Murphy who fought back, leveling the set at 5-5. Adams would finish her off, but not until multiple deuce attempts from Murphy.
While Adams and Murphy battled, Montovani rested. She easily dispatched of Wichita Trinity’s Isabella Sebits 6-1, 6-1. She was able to rest for more than an hour longer than Adams.
As carefree as Adams is, as the end of the first set, you could tell something was amiss. A trainer was called, and a 10-minute injury timeout was given. Adams attempted to play after doing multiple stretches.
“Her legs tightened up on here,” Circle head coach Cran Chase said. “She did great given the injury.”
Adams tried to power through the leg injury, which eventually led to her lower back. Adams was never the same. Montovani, a power hitting freshman was able to put the ball in places that forced Adams to reach and return with some force, but due to the injury, she couldn’t.
It took a big toll on her in the third set as Adams fought off the first break but Montovani got her on the second, making it 4-1. Adams was broken only four times all weekend, three times coming against Montovani.
Day 1 provided little challenge for the senior. Adams took care of Mariel Allen of Bishop Miege 6-2, 6-1 in a second round match. Adams dispatched Buhler’s Brittany Teufel 6-3, 6-0 to get into the semifinal match against Murphy.
“I’m really proud of everything she’s accomplished this season,” Chase said.
Adams finishes her season 25-2, regional champion, and state runner-up. For her career, Adams was 50-9 as a singles player. She also finished third at state last season in singles. She also went 22-10 as a freshman with teammate Lana Chase in doubles.
She’ll get another year to come back and compete for another State Championship. She’ll get a chance to complete the trio of first, second, and third.
“Tennis is fun,” Adams said. “It’s a game and I enjoy playing it. I’m already looking forward to next year."