Naperville C. breaks drought; Clousing reigns again
For Naperville Central it was the welcome end to a 19-year tennis sectional championship drought.
Led by the duo of Cass Goldner and Cindy Liu, who won the doubles title and freshman Tiffany Chen, who finished second to three-year sectional champion Keisha Clousing of Wheaton Warrenville South at singles, the Redhawks won the Naperville North sectional title.
Due to Saturday's rain, the final two rounds were played indoors at the Vaughn Athletic Center in Aurora.
Goldner and Liu won in three sets 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 over Kamile Stadalankaite and Abbie Boswell of Naperville North.
Chen lost to three-year sectional champion Clousing 6-0, 6-2 in the singles final.
The sectional's top four singles and top four doubles advance to the state tournament, which begins Thursday at locations throughout the Northwest suburbs.
"It was a total team effort," said Naperville Central coach Don Bonet. "It sure feels nice and the girls are very proud, as they should be."
The Redhawks needed the points provided by their other doubles team of Meaghan Bedigian and Maria Mihailescu and singles Sara Furukawa, who won second-round matches to earn Naperville Central a vital 8 points.
Others from the sectional who qualified for state were singles Kelsey Chin of Metea Valley and Leah Tzakis of Benet and doubles Kamile Stadalankaite and Abbey Boswell, as well as Kayla Maxson and Tiffany Oken, both of Naperville North, and Mary Beth King and Daniella Reyes of Benet.
In the finals Stadalankaite and Boswell, who had come off a tough three-set win over the Benet doubles, took the first set 6-2 over the Redhawks duo.
"In the second set we won the first game," Bonet said. "And then we took control of the set. The third set featured a lot of good points by both teams and was actually much closer than the 6-2 score indicates."
Clousing, in winning the singles final, brought her game to a new level, according to Chen and Bonet.
"Keisha utilized her serve," Chen said. "And she went for a lot more shots because she didn't have to worry about the wind. I had the opportunity to play against a really great player today. I want to bring my game up to that level."
According to Wheaton Warrenville South coach Patti Clousing, Keisha's mom, "I haven't seen Keisha so focused all season as she was today.
"She was all business. She played really good tennis and she had a determination that I haven't seen all season. She was attempting her 'pro-like' shots and getting them in. She was happy when she heard we were going indoors because that's where she plays her best, with the perfect conditions."
The coach said her daughter treated sectionals as if it was the beginning of the state tournament.
"If she can keep up that focus," Patti Clousing said, "it will be exciting."
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