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Rochester senior Kelsey Dieter follows through on a backhand during her match against L'Anse Creuse's Alix Thurman Saturday in the Division 1 championship match at No. 1 singles. Dieters came from a set down to beat Thurman for her second state championship. (The Oakland Press/JASON SCHMITT)

Tennis - Girls

GIRLS TENNIS: Dieters caps off stellar career with state title

Rochester senior wins second state championship

L'Anse Creuse senior Alix Thurman reaches to return a shot from Rochester's Kelsey Dieters during the Division 1 championship match at No. 1 singles. (The Oakland Press/JASON SCHMITT)

The Rochester girls tennis team celebrates its top-10 finish at the Division 1 finals Saturday in Midland. The Falcons tied Troy for ninth place, scoring 10 team points. (The Oakland Press/JASON SCHMITT)

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MIDLAND - It's the way it had to end.

At least for Kelsey Dieters and those who have watched her play high school tennis the past four years.

The Rochester senior, the state's best player, captured the No. 1 singles state championship at the Division 1 finals Saturday at the Midland Community Tennis Center.

She rallied to defeat L'Anse Creuse North's Alix Thurman, 3-6, 7-5, 6-4, in the championship match, capping off a stellar career that included a pair of state championship and just a handful of losses.

In her final match of her career, Dieters, who earlier in the day had to rally from a set down to defeat her Midland Dow opponent in one semifinal, had to rally again, as she was trailing Thurman 5-3 in the second set.

"I just kept focused and tried to push through and not really focusing on the score, but trying to focus on every point," said Dieters, who lost just one match over her last three seasons at No. 1. "The whole match I was trying to kick it in, but it didn't seem to be working today. I just kind of had that refuse to lose attitude. I kind of turned it up a notch."

Dieters, who will be playing at Ohio State next year, entered the tournament as the No. 1 seed. She had not lost a set all season long. Her opponent in the final, Thurman, was also undefeated.

"I think I played well, really well actually," said Thurman, who herself received a full-ride scholarship to play tennis at Miami of Ohio next year. "Just at times I would lose focus a little, but I think she did, too. We both just kept fighting, even when we were down. I was happy with how I played today."

Dieters opened up the tournament with quick wins over Rilie Du Shane of Holland West Ottawa and Taylor Sweeney of Port Huron Northern. That put her into the semifinal round, where she defeated Midland Dow's Daniella Patton, 4-6, 6-2, 6-1.

Thurman won the only other match the two have played in high school, back in the semifinal round when they were both freshmen. Thurman went on to fall in the finals that year.

Dieters leaves as a four-time all-state player, having reached the semifinals all four seasons and winning a pair of state titles. Her win on Saturday helped the Falcons to a ninth-place finish as a team. That's something she said she's proud of, as well as the fact that she helped put Rochester tennis on the map.

"My goal this whole season, and every season has been to do my best and see how far I can make it," Dieters said. "I really just want to make an impact on Rochester High School and the tennis program. I reached my goal, hopefully."

Click here to read The Oakland Press’ 2011 season preview story, featuring Kelsey Dieters

Last Updated: 6/5/2011 4:31:43 AM EST

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