Player of the Year: Zabor caps career of unbounded success
by Adam Carrington
acarrington@mdjonline.com
May 25, 2011 12:00 AM | 1944 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Emily Zabor
Emily Zabor
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Practically any high school tennis player would love to have Emily Zabor's resume.

She had very little to complain about.

Zabor was on a Walton girls tennis team that holds the state's longest all-sport winning streak at 147 straight matches. She has four state titles, four region titles and finished her senior campaign undefeated at No. 1 singles.

And Zabor, the 2011 Marietta Daily Journal/Cobb County Girls Tennis Player of the Year, recently found out that she was named a high school all-American - an award former Walton standouts Cameron Ellis (Georgia) and Elizabeth Kilborn (Georgia Tech) also earned.

"My dad found out (last week), and it's such an honor," Zabor said. "Elizabeth got it her senior year (in 2009) and Cameron got it her senior year (in '07). To put me in the same league as them is a great honor."

Although Zabor described her fourth straight state title as both "bittersweet" and "peaceful," it was a state title she was determined to get. She even spent extra time on certain areas of her game just to hold her end of the bargain during the Class AAAAA state tournament.

Zabor got somewhat of a wakeup call in the Region 5AAAAA finals, when Etowah threatened to end Walton's winning streak. Etowah's Nicole LaDuca started pushing her around after the first set of their match at No. 1 singles and was leading Zabor in the third when the match was finally called in Walton's favor.

Even though Walton escaped with a 3-0 win, the final three matches that remained on court were in third sets. Etowah had a legitimate shot at winning all three of them, with Zabor being one of the potential victims.

That was until Walton's No. 2 doubles tandem of Kayla Brady and Marissa Pulido came to the rescue by pulling out their three-setter.

"The region final gave us a nice little scare there," Zabor said. "Nicole was playing unbelievable. Both doubles were close. It showed us how close it could get toward the end."

Afterwards, Zabor went back to the drawing board. One area she worked on before Walton's latest state title run was her serve. She used it as a weapon during the state tournament and rarely double faulted.

Her only intense battle came against Peachtree Ridge when she beat Jessica Northcutt 6-0, 7-6 in front of an ear-splitting Peachtree Ridge crowd.

"We had our strongest lineup and showed them how good we could be," Zabor said. "Everyone stepped up and was great to win that. It was really close."

After breezing through her match against Tift County, Zabor went on to put an exclamation point to her Walton career with a 6-3, 6-0 win over Georgia Southern-bound Norcross player Cameron Williams.

Now it's on to Alabama, a school Zabor chose over Georgia Tech, Kentucky, Mississippi and Florida State.

She said she even set lofty goals for her next four years, such as being an all-American in singles and doubles by her junior season and winning a Southeastern Conference title by her senior year.
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