Crummey rolls to third straight Section II singles title (with photo gallery)

Last winter, Cat Crummey put a sticky note up on her bulletin board as a reminder of her ultimate go
Shaker’s Cat Crummey during Tuesday’s tennis title match.
Shaker’s Cat Crummey during Tuesday’s tennis title match.

Last winter, Cat Crummey put a sticky note up on her bulletin board as a reminder of her ultimate goal this season. It simply read: Win 2011 sectionals.

“This is very special to me. I wanted to win this so badly,” said the Shaker High School senior, who beat Guilderland’s Gaby Peda, 6-1, 6-0, in the singles finals of the Section II Individual Tennis Champ­ionships Tuesday at Schenectady Sportime. It was Crummey’s third consecutive sectional title.

“After I won my first sectional title, I wanted to win another one, and then another one. I worked very hard to get it. This is something I’ve been thinking about for a long time.”

Crummey defeated Peda with surgical precision. Although the match wasn’t as one-sided as the score appeared, Crummey was in control with her deadly accurate volleys and numerous cross-court winners that just barely skipped inbounds. Peda extended many games, but couldn’t break Crummey’s serve all afternoon.

“I knew I had to focus at the start and wait until I got more comfortable with my shots. That’s how I usually play every match,” she said. “As the match goes on, I usually get more and more into it, show some more emotion and start to hit the ball harder. Gaby is a very good player, and I knew I couldn’t let up at all, no matter what the score was.”

Shaker tennis coach Gerry Cuva wasn’t surprised at all by Crummey’s sharp performance.

“That’s her third sectional title, and it’s a very tall accomplishment,” he said. “I don’t know too many people who have won three in a row. Maybe Meghan Yates of Hudson did it back in the 1990s. With Cat, once she won the first [title], winning again was the only satisfying thing left to do.”

In fact, Yates won five sectional crowns, the last one in 1998, but there have been few players as dominant as Crummey in recent years.

Cuva said that Crummey’s game plan seldom changes.

“She hits consistently hard and doesn’t let her opponent back into the match,” he said. “That’s the key for her. She hits the ball 10 to 15 percent harder once she has her opponent down, and she doesn’t let up. You could see that a lot of the games were close, but Cat never let up.”

“Even if I’m up, 5-0, in the second set, I never let up, because you never know what will happen,” she said.

Crummey, also a diver on the swimming team, has been playing tennis since she was 4 and competing in regional tournaments since she was 11. She also has been a member of the Blue Bison’s varsity team for six seasons.

Tennis has always been a major event for her family. Her mother, Caron, plays at Schuyler Meadows Club, while her sister, Conna, competed for Shaker in the state tourn­ament in 2007.

Crummey, who prefers to play the baseline rather than attack the net very often, wants to play college tennis next year and has several possibilities, including Washington University, St. Louis, Siena, Emory, Loyola and Geneseo.

“I definitely want to play scholarship tennis somewhere, but I’d like someplace down south where it’s warm,” she said. “I’ve made a couple of visits.”

Meanwhile, Emma Willard’s top two doubles teams squared off for the sectional title, with top-seeded Chassidy King and Keishorea Armstrong topping second-seeded Mitali Das and Molly Goodman, 6-2, 6-1.

“It’s a little bit different playing your teammates,” said Emma Willard coach Judith Curry, whose Jesters won their first Section II Class AA team championship with a 9-0 victory over Shaker last week. “It’s kind of hard to do. I know they had a lot of fun, and they were probably a little more relaxed, but they also took it seriously. Both Chassidy and Keishorea are primarily singles players, and I don’t think they dropped a singles match all year. But they are also an excellent doubles team.”

Niskayuna’s Emily Laurilliard and Ann Phillips stopped Shaker’s Molly O’Connor and Mia Fallati, 6-1, 7-6 (1), in the third-place match.

In the third-place singles match, Claire Schmitz of Emma Willard rallied to defeat Catherine Jenkins of Shaker, 0-6, 6-1, 7-6 (2). Schmitz, one of the premier players in the Capital Region all season, lost her semifinal match to Crummey, 6-3, 6-4, but beat her in the team championships.

Crummey, Peda and Schmitz, along with the two Emma Willard doubles teams and the Niskayuna doubles team, advance to the state tournament this weekend at East Side Racquet Club in Manlius.



Championship: 1-Cat Crummey (Shaker) def. 2-Gaby Peda (Guilderland), 6-1, 6-0. Third place: 4-Claire Schmitz (Emma Willard) def. 3-Catherine Jenkins (Shaker), 6-4, 6-0.


Championship: 1-Chassidy King-Keish­orea Armstrong (Emma Willard) def. 2-Mitali Das-Molly Goodman (Emma Willard), 6-2, 6-1. Third place: 4-Emily Laurillard-Ann Phillips (Niskayuna) def. 3-Molly O’Connor-Mia Fallati (Shaker), 6-1, 7-6 (1).

Categories: -Sports, High School Sports

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