Hastings’ tennis player Jeremy Jank served back-to-back serves into the net, a double fault, giving Mathey and Lockee the No. 2 doubles championship, and the Knights the state championship. Lockee and Mathey hugged in a sweaty embrace, the rest of the team ran on the court and joined in.
The state championship had come down to their doubles match. Mt. Michael went into the final round ahead of Beatrice by five points, 37-32, but Beatrice had both their No. 2 singles and No. 1 doubles in the championship. Unless both of Beatrice’s teams won, Lockee and Mathey would not even have to win their match.
Lockee and Mathey began their match with Hastings, keeping a close eye on the Beatrice matches across the court. They won the first set but fell behind early in the second set. Always playing catch-up, Lockee/Mathey forced the match into a tie-breaker before losing.
After losing the second set, Lockee and Mathey also found out that Beatrice had in fact won both their matches to take a team lead of 38-37. The state championship depended on the third set of their match.
“After we lost the second set, we weren’t nervous even though we knew the state championship rested on our match. We realized what we had done wrong and that the changes in our game would evoke a positive result,” said Lockee.
Their confidence proved to be enough, winning their third set 6-2.
Lockee and Mathey defeated doubles teams from Skutt, Kearney Catholic and Grand Island Central Catholic en route to the championship. Mathey said, “I’m glad we could serve it to GICC. It was more than just a win to make it to the finals; it was redemption for the Kearney Invite.”
The Knights’ theme for the tournament was ‘All Day.’ It was the best way to describe their consistency. All the team members did exactly what they needed to do. Nobody finished more than one place away from where they were seeded. Lockee said, “This state tournament really was a team championship. If somebody had failed at just one point, we wouldn’t have been holding that trophy.” - Tim Huss