Prep tennis | Cailin Finnegan and Haley Donahue lead Bayshore into region final

adell@bradenton.comApril 10, 2014 

BAYSHORE GARDENS -- Cailin Finnegan and Haley Donahue know they can count on each other in tough situations.

The Bayshore duo found itself in a difficult spot Wednesday in a region semifinal match against Lake Wales.

The host Bruins led 3-2 after the singles matches and were trailing at No. 1 doubles. Finnegan and Donahue didn't let the pressure bother them in earning a 7-6, 6-2 victory at No. 2 doubles to give Bayshore a 4-3 win over Lake Wales in the Class 2A-Region 5 Semifinal.

"Whenever we are struggling we talk to each other and know exactly what to say to each other and what needs to be fixed on the court," Donahue said.

Bayshore won three of the first four singles matches. Ava Schultz won at No. 2 singles 6-1, 6-2; Finnegan won No. 3 singles 6-2, 6-3; and Donahue won number four singles 6-3, 6-2.

The Bruins were hoping the match would be decided before going to doubles. But Savannah Gray fell at No. 1 singles 6-3, 6-4, and Cailei Meluch lost 6-1, 6-0 at No. 5 singles.

Gray and Schultz lost 7-6. 6-2 in No. 1 doubles.

"We knew everything was on the line. It was nerve-wracking." Finnegan said. "We came through because we knew what to say to each other, and we didn't get too cocky. I am tired, but I want to win (tomorrow)."

Finnegan and Donahue have won six of seven doubles matches they've played together this year and have handled pressure well all season, Bayshore head coach Trevor Johnson said.

"They pulled together and were persistent, and they are real smart players," Johnson said. "During the match, they are always communicating and I think they are just having fun out there and that's a big part of it."

Finnegan and Donahue each won a singles title at district and combined to win at No. 2 doubles, enabling Bayshore to win the Class 2A-10 championship.

Gusty winds made it difficult for both teams, but Bayshore's young team showed composure in dealing with the elements and their opponents.

The Bruins will be home for Thursday's region final, playing host to District 9 champion Tampa Academy of The Holy Names, which defeated Booker in its region semifinal, at 3 p.m.

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