Walker Valley's Collins Is Class AA Tennis Runner-Up

Defending Champ Riley Cassity Claims Championship

  • Friday, May 26, 2023
  • special to The Chattanoogan.com
Ensley Collins
Ensley Collins
photo by Contributed

<URFREESBORO, Tenn. -- Walker Valley junior Ensley Collins came up one match short in her quest for a TSSAA State Division 1-AA tennis championship, dropping the title match to Farragut’s defending state champion Riley Cassity 6-2, 6-4. 

Collins entered Murfreesboro’s Spring Fling as the District 7 and Region 3 champion boasting a 17-0 record. Collins advanced to the semi-final round with a 6-0, 6-0 victory over Region 7 champion Ava Freeburg from Northwest High School. 

Collins matched up with hometown favorite Ellie Zolt from Murfreesboro Siegel.

“The semi-final match was great tennis. I got down 2-3 in the first and had to just settle in and trust my stuff.”  Collins shared. Her confidence growing, Collins grabbed the momentum and the first set 6-3. That confidence continued to grow throughout the match as Collins would close out the match 6-1 and earn her place in the championship match as the first Walker Valley tennis player to play in the tennis title match. 

In the finals, Collins would challenge the defending state champion from Farragut, Riley Cassity. “Riley’s a great player. We’ve played juniors together for many years and had a couple of matches against each other.”  The early momentum belonged to the experienced champion who won critical points, including 5 deuce points in the opening set to build a 6-2, one set lead. While the second set stayed close, the script was the same with Cassity winning 4 more deuce points and ultimately her second TSSAA State tennis championship 6-4. “Congrats to Riley on a great match. She played great and earned it today.  Dropping 9 deuce points is tough to overcome, but credit to her. She was the better player today.” said Collins. 

“I am so thankful to be here and represent our community and our team. The support and well wishes has really been overwhelming. There were teammates here, other coaches here, people from all over cheering - it was very humbling.” Collins shared. 

Walker Valley Coach Jordan Willcutt shared his support for his junior. “She had a great season individually but was a great teammate more importantly.  I’m excited to see her continue to work and grow for next year.” 

“I’ll keep working hard and hopefully our team can be part of this experience next year.” Collins remarked. 

Ensley finishes her junior season 19-1. While team tennis concludes for the year, she will travel to Mobile, Alabama to compete in the USTA 18s Southern Closed Tournament before traveling to several events throughout the summer

Walker Valley's Ensley Collins serves in her Division I, Class AA championship match.
Walker Valley's Ensley Collins serves in her Division I, Class AA championship match.
photo by Contributed
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