Batavia continues history-making season
Batavia's girls tennis team made history this weekend on a team, individual, and program level.
The Bulldogs dominated the West Aurora sectional, racking up 31 points to win the team competition for the first time in the program's history, while qualifying both doubles teams and singles players for the state tournament, also a first.
"They owned Friday," West Aurora coach Brian Brooks said of Batavia's performance in the opening rounds.
It was also a historic weekend for Hannah Potter who established a new Batavia career wins record. The senior, who has played in one of the top two slots at singles and doubles since her freshman year, now has 113 wins, with the state tournament still to come.
"Winning this sectional, and getting six girls through to state is a huge statement for this program," Batavia coach Brad Nelson said. "It's something we've been working toward for a long time. Last year we took second at sectional, and we've finished third a couple of times. This year we felt we had the team to do it, and they definitely showed it."
Potter and partner Kaitlin Mills won the doubles title, beating teammates Jenny Mizikar and Amelia Cogan 7-5, 7-5 in a seesaw final.
"This match was really hard for us, playing our own teammates," Potter said.
It was by far Potter and Mills' most challenging match of the tournament, as they made fast work of their opponents in the earlier rounds, then defeated
Waubonsie Valley's top doubles team of Katie Drone and Amanda Glavin, 6-0, 6-3 in the semifinals.
"We lost to (Waubonsie Valley) a couple of weeks ago, so we wanted to get off to a good start against them and we didn't stop until it was over," Mills said.
Mizikar and Cogan had to survive a 3-setter against Oswego East's Kylee Jackson and Erinn Brooks in the semis to advance.
"As the match progressed we were able to stay in it, and we had to work really hard, and that paid off," Cogan said.
The Bulldogs' slow start in that match may be attributed to their already having qualified for state going in.
"We already knew were going to state, but it still felt really good to win that match," Mills said.
Drone and Glavin finished third, giving Waubonsie Valley its best showing of the weekend.
Another pair of Batavia teammates, Miranda Grizaffi and Liza Fruendt, also wound up facing off against one another, this time in the third place singles match. After winning a first set that could have gone either way, Grizaffi closed strong and won the match, 7-5, 6-4.
"(Grizaffi) is a very steady player, and she kept a lot of balls in play and worked her points well in her matches," Nelson said.
While Grizaffi cruised through her first two matches Friday afternoon before running into West Aurora's Emily Stefancic in the semis, Fruendt had to battle through a 3-setter against IMSA senior Christina Cheng, finally coming away with a 6-2, 2-6, 6-3 win to qualify for state.
"(Fruendt) is a fierce competitor," Nelson said. "She definitely played well this weekend and surprised some people."
Stefancic, the No. 2 seed, mounted an impressive run through her half of the bracket, dropping just four games in her first three matches, before losing to top-seeded Sajela Harlow of Oswego East, 6-3, 4-6, 7-6 (7-3) in the final.
"Emily has improved a lot since last year, and this was the best match she's played against (Harlow)," Brooks said.
But from beginning to end, the weekend belonged to Batavia, just as the season has, from those early matches in August to that odd family feud that saw one pair of Bulldogs edge out another for the doubles title Saturday afternoon.
"It's great for all of our team to advance through to state, and to be able to share this with my teammates and keep the season going," Potter said. "This is just incredible."
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