Caty McNally Plays Up, Wins USTA Girls' 14s Title
by Todd Holcomb, 13 August 2014
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At age 12, Caty McNally became one of the youngest singles and doubles champions at the USTA Girls 14 National Championships last week in Peachtree City, Ga.
Girls' 14 Champion Caty McNally
© Doug Wrege, TennisRecruiting.net
The rising seventh-grader at Madeira Middle School in Cincinnati didn't lose a set in her seven singles matches and defeated third-seeded Taylor Johnson
of Redondo Beach, Calif., 6-3, 6-2 in the final. No opponent won more than three games in a set against McNally in the singles draw.
In doubles, McNally teamed with Nicole Conard of Boca Raton, Fla. They beat Dasha Kourkina and Michelle Sorokko of New York 6-3, 4-6, 6-1.
McNally also had won a "double gold" (claiming the singles and doubles titles) in the USTA Girls 12 Winter Nationals to start the year in Tucson, Ariz., and she had won a doubles Gold Ball in Georgia a year ago at the USTA Girls 12 Nationals. But this was her first major title in the 14s. She called it the best tournament victory of her young career.
"Because I'm still 12 and playing with older girls, it's pretty big," said McNally, the No. 2 player on TennisRecruiting.net's national ranking of seventh graders.
The Girls 14 Nationals have been played in the Atlanta area for more than 30 years. McNally joins a roll of champions that includes Lindsay Davenport and Chanda Rubin.
McNally attributed her success to keeping her emotions in check, playing smart and having a good game plan for each match.
"I listened to my mom a lot," McNally said. "She would scout out the players. I listened to her and tried to execute it. It worked well each time."
McNally's mom, Lynn Nabors-McNally, is her coach and a former all-Big Ten player and WTA Tour pro. Caty McNally's brother is a prominent junior player, too. John McNally swept the singles and doubles titles at the USTA Boys 16 Super Nationals last week in Kalamazoo, Mich.
McNally is 5-foot-8, so she doesn't give up size and power against older players. She has more diversity in her game than most her age. She often hit drop shots after big serves, and she was equally comfortable hitting passing shots or lobs when aggressive players such as Johnson came to the net.