Lady Irish trio, off team state repeat, rule singles, doubles

MURFREESBORO — A new doubles combination at Knoxville Catholic — having never played together until this season — enjoyed the same state tournament result as their older teammate, who was defending Division II-AA singles champ.

First of all, junior Maeve Thornton joined forces with teammates, which included the young doubles duo of freshman Lillie Murphy and sophomore Eleni Liakonis, to lead the Lady Irish to a second straight AA team championship at Adams Tennis Complex Wednesday, May 25.

During individual tourney play ending with state title matches Friday, May 27, the KCHS threesome all came away with still more state champion hardware.

Neither Thornton in singles nor Murphy-Liakonis in doubles lost a match the entire season, either in team or individual play,

“It shows how good we are as a team,” Thornton said.

The junior repeated as singles state champ, easily beating Riley Collins of Ensworth 6-2, 6-1.

“It shows our team is so deep and has so much talent,” Thornton added. “These girls are amazing.”

The Murphy-Liakonis duo faced a bit tougher competition in the doubles state final, but managed a 7-6 (10-8 tiebreaker), 6-3 win versus Helen Guerry and Agda Laakso of Baylor.

“We were down 6-3 ... they had three set points” in the first set, Murphy said. “We rallied back and came through.”

Despite having never played together until this season, “The first time we played together, we just knew which side of the court to go to at the right time,” Liakonis said. “It really just worked.”

“I think our game styles match up really well,” Murphy said.