PREP TENNIS: Bear River’s Savannah Thrasher earns section championship | TheUnion.com

PREP TENNIS: Bear River’s Savannah Thrasher earns section championship

When her opponent failed to return the final serve of the match and the ball bounced harmlessly into the net, Savannah Thrasher stood in disbelief.

"When I won that point I looked over at my coach and I was like 'did I seriously just win this?'"

She had.

With a 6-1, 7-6 (7-5) victory in the Sac-Joaquin Section coed girls tennis championship, Thrasher, a Bear River senior, had earned a section title and accomplished a goal she set for herself four years ago.

"That meant more than the world to me. That was my goal since I was a freshman," Thrasher said. "It was a very emotional win. My mother and father were both crying with joy. I couldn't believe it… It was one of the most intense moments of my life."

The victory concluded a season in which Thrasher went 19-1, won the Pioneer Valley League girls singles title and blazed her way through the playoffs with straight set wins over all three of her opponents.

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Thrasher would be tested in the championship, though, facing a resilient Sabrina Cheng from West Campus.

After taking the first set against Cheng, 6-1, Thrasher grabbed a 4-0 lead in the second set and looked to be cruising to victory. Cheng battled back to grab a 6-5 second set lead. Thrasher refused to let the set slip away and won the next game to force a tiebreaker. Thrasher jumped out to 4-0 lead in the tiebreaker, but Cheng rallied with four straight points of her own to tie the match. The two finalists traded points to make it 5-5. Thrasher scored the next point to go up 6-5, then closed it out with her powerful serve, which Cheng failed to return.

"Savannah is up there with some of the finest players in Bear River history, and that's just a fact," Bear River head tennis coach Jeff Carrow said. "She has so much strength and a wide variety of shots. She has really, really hard put aways and she's got some tricky shots that she developed this year. Lots of spins. It used to be all power and people would just back up and handle it, but now she has this really cool push slice… Her net game has also improved quite a bit and with her size and strength that's a real advantage."

In addition to her strength and impressive skill set, Thrasher said, for her, it came down to the mental game.

"It's all a head game. It really is," she said. "What I've learned, and got better at, over the years is to not let your emotions get in the way. If your emotions get in the way, you're going to lose. I'm playing a better head game than I ever have, and that's why I won."

Thrasher is the second straight Bear River player to win the Sac-Joaquin Section championship after Josephine Wilting did it last year.

Thrasher, who plans to attend and play tennis at Sierra College, expressed gratitude to her personal coaches Tom Isaac and Jennifer Issac as well as Carrow for helping her become the championship player she is.

To contact Sports Editor Walter Ford, call 530-477-4232 or email wford@theunion.com.