Lexington Catholic senior Zach Lewis will play on the final day of the KHSAA State Tennis Tournament for the fourth and final time of his high-school career Saturday as he seeks his first singles championship.
After a tough first set, Lewis settled in to defeat Bowling Green's Will True 6-4, 6-0 Friday to advance to the semifinals Saturday morning.
"He came out playing really strong. I was playing tight and tentative, and he took advantage of it," Lewis said. "I was a little shaken up in the beginning. I started being more consistent and played a little smarter. I settled down."
The four top seeds all advanced to the semifinals, including No. 4 Lewis.
"I came in here hoping to win it this year," Lewis said. "I think that if I just go out and play my game and play smart, I think I can win it. I've got to play my best though. "
Lewis, the 11th Region singles champion the past two years, has made it to the semifinals four straight years, but he said winning the doubles title with Ryne Least in 2010 was the highlight of his career.
"The experience of being here on Saturday in the state will be beneficial to him," Lexington Catholic coach Ann Bruggeman said. "He can concentrate on his game and not get caught up in the pomp and circumstance of the finals."
As Lewis set focus on his final day of high school tennis, his coach reflected on his four years at Lexington Catholic.
"Zach is an excellent student and a great kid. He has been a pleasure to coach and a perfect example of what Lexington Catholic would like representing them on the court," Bruggeman said. "He is such a good role model to the other kids."
John Bruner, Lewis' head coach next year at the College of Charleston, is looking forward to that same leadership at the collegiate level.
"Zach is not only a great competitor, but a great sportsman. He will be a great addition to the team atmosphere at the College of Charleston as I am sure he brings to his high school team," Bruner said.
"He will add composure and competitive tournament experience to a young team in both singles and doubles."
Lewis wants to go out winning another title.
"This feels real good. I'm glad I could come in here four years ago and help Lexington Catholic," he said. "Hopefully tomorrow I can bring home another one."
Five other state champions will be decided Saturday at the University of Kentucky's Hilary J. Boone Tennis Center.
Henry Clay's Claire Mielcarek and Shae Henry lost in a thrilling three-set tie-breaker match to Notre Dame's Alyssa Kennedy and Catriona Shaughnessy 4-6, 7-5, 6-7 (4).
The Henry Clay duo took the second set and opened a 4-1 lead in the final set.
"I thought we had it won, but they came back with energy," Mielcarek said. "You could see it in their eyes when they stepped back on the court down 4-1."
In the girls' quarterfinals, Highlands' Meredith Laskey beat 11th Region champion Jullian Mok of Sayre, 6-3, 6-2.
"I think Jullian played great. They were both consistent players that had a similar game," said Sayre coach Heather English. "The one that got the ball over the net last won. But they both played great."
Parking will be available Saturday in the R lots next to the tennis stadium and the Green lot next to Commonwealth Stadium.