Like an experienced prizefighter, Sarah Church has experienced her fair share of shots to the chin.
But the St. Charles East junior has a new perspective after her one-sided victory at first singles was one of seven straight Upstate Eight Conference River Division triumphs Tuesday afternoon at St. Charles North for the Saints.
"I was put in the No. 1 singles spot as a freshman, and it's amazing how much I have improved," Church said after turning back St. Charles North senior Tessa Masa 6-1 and 6-1. "It's kind of been like the team. Every match I have improved (since freshman year). We have gotten to see the team evolve over the years."
With its surprisingly easy 7-0 victory over the North Stars, believed to be the first win in girls tennis in seven years against its city rival, St. Charles East improved to 7-1 overall and remains tied with Batavia at 3-0 in the division.
St. Charles North is 2-2 in River play.
Jamie Youngberg also had few problems in winning 12 of 13 games for the Saints at second singles, but St. Charles North sophomore Lianne Anderson made Jaci Spoerl go the distance at third singles.
Spoerl, after dropping the first set 4-6, came back to win 6-4 and 6-1 to complete the Saints' sweep.
"I just realized (after the first set) that (Anderson) plays a lot like I do," Spoerl said. "It was a good match."
None of the four doubles matches went more than the minimum two sets.
Junior twins Alexa and Carly Huskisson barely broke sweats in cruising to victory with a 6-1 and 6-0 showing at second doubles.
"We try to be consistent (in our play)," Alexa Huskisson said.
"We knew we were going to have trouble with the twins," St. Charles North coach Eve Tubman said.
At first doubles, the Saints' Kelsie Robertson and Haydyn Jones, both juniors, created separation against counterparts Ashley Randazzo and Faith Oehlerking as their match developed.
The Robertson-Jones partnership was routinely tested in claiming the first set in 6-4, only to have a strong finish in the nightcap to wrap up the match with a 6-2 triumph.
"We just communicated well (as the match went on)," Robertson said.
The Saints' Kellie Sciurba and fellow senior Meghan Gauthier survived a first-set tiebreaker to launch a second-set performance with far less stress.
"We felt more confident after (winning the tiebreaker 8-6), Sciurba said.
Emmy Russell and Lauren McNally claimed the final St. Charles East doubles win with a second-set tiebreaking win.
"To (the Saints') credit, they were definitely the better team today," Tubman said. "We had to move our lineup around. I thought our girls played well. They certainly had opportunities (to win more games)."