Lebo’s Callie Frey nets 2nd WPIAL title

Published Sep 20, 2013 at 9:55 am (Updated Sep 20, 2013 at 9:55 am)

Thoughts can be dangerous. Just ask Callie Frey.

In defending her WPIAL singles’ tennis championship, the Mt. Lebanon senior never once thought about back-to-back titles.

“I wasn’t thinking about repeating at all,” she said. “If I did, then things might have turned out differently.”

In the end, things turned out the same, the same as 2012 that is. In the 2013 finals played on the hardcourts at North Allegheny High School, Frey defeated Marlys Bridgham, 3-6, 6-1, 6-2, to claim the Class AAA crown.

“Amazing,” Frey said of the feat. “It feels good to win twice in a row. It’s harder to defend a title though.”

Indeed, primed for the upset, Bridgham forced Frey into errors that caused her to drop the first set, 6-3. Frey only led, 1-0, before Bridgham dictated the play from the baseline.

“In the first set,” Frey explained. “I was not playing my game. I was sitting back in the zone and I needed to come in more and take time away from my opponent. That was the difference. I was more aggressive.”

Frey shook off the sluggish start and dominated Bridgham in the second and third sets, dropping only three games.

“I was not as aggressive as I should have been and I wasn’t coming in (to the net) the first set. Two things,” Frey explained, “that really help you win.”

A queasy stomach did not help Frey. She relied on bananas to settle her system and her play on the court.

“I was eating the bananas for energy and because I was not feeling well,” she explained.

Because Frey had played Bridgham in a pre-season scrimmage, she expected to go the distance. “That match went three sets before so I knew this would be tough.”

For Frey, the matches don’t get easier as she has qualified for the PIAA tournament to be held at the Hershey Racquet Club the first weekend in November. Frey finished as the state runner-up in 2012, falling to Plymouth-Whitemarsh’s Christina Kaiser, 7-5, 6-3.

“The ironic thing,” she said of last year’s championship loss, “was I beat her a month later. If I play her again, I hope to beat her.”

The motivation is certainly there for Frey. Losing does not sit well with her. In fact, she has only dropped one set this season and that occurred against Bridgham.

“Losing at states definitely makes you want to win even more,” she said. “Winning certainly makes you feel more confident.”

Not two many tennis players from Mt. Lebanon have won two straight district titles and in fact, when Frey won last year, it ended a near, three-decade drought for the school. Two-time state champion, Kelly Kolankiewicz won a WPIAL title in 1983. So to repeat the feat so quickly awed Frey. “It feels amazing. I’m happy to have done that. And the interesting thing, too, about that is I actually just met the person who won it 29 years ago.” Frey said excitedly. “That’s so cool. It was a neat experience.”

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