LINCOLN — The Class B tennis tournament went true to form Friday at the Woods Tennis Center.

Which was a perfect script for Elkhorn South.

The Storm won the team title, ending Omaha Skutt's reign atop Class B. The winners finished with one champion, two silver medals and a third-place finish to defeat Skutt by five points.

"If you look at it, it went right the way seeds were drawn up," Elkhorn South coach Steve Bischof said. "A first, two seconds and a third — that's what we had to do coming in, and we knew that.

"Well, I knew that. I didn't tell the girls that."

Most of the tournament went the way it was drawn up. Three of the four champions were No. 1 seeds, and in the only upset, No. 2 Kearney Catholic downed No. 1 Grand Island Central Catholic in the No. 1 doubles final.

Samantha Mannix earned Elkhorn South's individual gold medal, defeating Skutt's Teresa Kaiser 6-3, 6-1 in the No. 1 singles final.

The Storm freshman had not dropped a game during the tournament, but she faced a much stiffer challenge from defending champion Kaiser, who was playing in her fourth No. 1 singles final.

Mannix, who finished the year 33-0, finally won the first game after three deuces, and the players stayed on serve for the first five games.

"I was pretty nervous at the beginning, and I had to fight through a lot of nerves," Mannix said. "Once I got going, I thought I played pretty well, and she played well, too."

With the nerves under control, Mannix cruised and took nine of the final 10 games from Kaiser, who suffered all five of her losses this year against Mannix.

Skutt had won the previous three championships and eight of the past nine — the only exception was Elkhorn South's only other title in 2011.

Skutt's two champions were repeat winners. Johnna Lowe capped an undefeated season with her second title at No. 2 singles. Elia Healy won gold in No. 2 doubles again as she partnered with Marin Laferla.

Mirroring the No. 1 singles, Leah Cates of Elkhorn South suffered all of her losses this year against Skutt's Lowe. Cates tried to alter her attack and work Lowe's backhand, but Lowe had plenty of answers.

Lowe also entered the finals perfect at state and won the first five games before Cates broke through.

"I didn't expect to beat her 6-0, 6-0. She's good, and I thought it was a fun match," Lowe said. "She used new strategies against me, and I just had to keep playing my own game."

In the only upset of the finals, the second-seeded No. 1 doubles team of Michelle Messbarger and Morgan Stute from Kearney Catholic knocked off Sadie Goering and Katie Golka of Grand Island Central Catholic 6-3 6-4.

GICC's duo had entered the match undefeated and had won the previous two meetings.

Stute said in those matches, GICC's team had dominated play at the net and used that to dictate the match. This time, however, the Kearney Catholic team started strong, winning the first three games.

"We really took over the net and we controlled all of our volleys," Stute said. "We knew they controlled the net for the first two games, and we came out with a ton of momentum and went and got it."

The pair were giddy following the match as they were swarmed by supporters. Messbarger, a junior, said she was elated to send off her senior teammate with a state championship.

"I didn't get her a graduation present," she said, "so I hope this will do."

Contact the writer: 402-444-1201,

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