On a rain-soaked day that forced most of Saturday's action indoors, Bartlett's girls tennis team persevered.
Spurred on by a pair of second-place individual finishes, the Hawks captured their second consecutive team sectional title at St. Charles East, edging runner-up Geneva by a 20-17 margin.
Contact information ( * required )
Junior Jen Gates, who didn't allow a single point in her first 3 singles matches, settled for a second-place finish after a 4-6, 0-6 loss to Sycamore freshman Angelina Ye.
The left-hander appeared to be well on her way to claiming the sectional singles title after grabbing a 3-0 lead in the opening set.
But that was when things began to unravel for Gates, who lost for just the third time all season.
"I think I lost four or five games in a row," said Gates, who also battled the effects of a weekend virus. "After that happened, it all went downhill from there.
"The mental part was tough for me today. And she (Ye) started playing really well and was hitting the lines. I've definitely got to come more prepared next time."
Gates, who placed second at sectionals for the third straight season, was pleased with her team's first-place showing.
"Our team has been working really hard this year," she said.
The Hawks also received a second-place effort from their doubles team of Jitsupa Sirinit and Gabby Gregorio, who earlier had staged a rally to fight off Kaneland sophomores Madi Jurcenko and Angelica Emmanouil in the semifinals, 6-7 (3), 6-2, 7-5.
The second-place Vikings were paced by sophomore Kirby Einck, who overcame a 3-6, 1-6 semifinal loss to Ye with a spirited 6-2, 6-1 third-place triumph over Kaneland sophomore Sammie Schrepferman.
"I achieved my goal by making it to state and I finished better than fourth so there's not much more I could ask for," said Einck, the Upstate Eight River champion.
Einck, who now has 4 losses, praised Ye for her all-around play in their semifinal match.
"She was ready," said Einck. "She barely missed any returns. She was really on top of her game today."
Wheaton Academy, which tied St. Charles East for third place with 14 points apiece, was anchored by doubles champions Lexi Welton and Betsy Jones.
The Warriors' junior pairing earned a straight-set semifinal win before defeating Bartlett's Sirinit and Gregorio, 6-1, 6-4, in the title match.
"I think staying together as a team helped us a lot," said Welton, who qualified for state at singles last season. "This season has been so much fun."
"It's so awesome coming in with Lexi and having success here and growing as a team," said Jones.
Fifth-place Kaneland received a third-place showing from Jurcenko and Emmanouil to go with Schrepferman's fourth-place, state-qualifying performance.
"We played really hard in the semifinal match," Jurcenko said of the team's 3-set loss to Bartlett. "Coming in third -- that's fine. We still qualified for state so we're happy."
Kaneland's top doubles team earned a 6-3, 6-1 victory over the Saints' Haydyn Jones and Kelsie Roberton for third place.
St. Charles East coach Sena Drawer was happy to see the progress that has been made by her top doubles team.
"We knew last year as sophomores that they weren't there yet and that they didn't have enough weapons," said Drawer, who has qualified a player for state in 26 of her 27 years at the helm. "They weren't quite ready but they've worked very hard in the last year.
"I could see it coming little by little by little," added Drawer. "They've done a great job of getting here. They've accomplished their goal and they're already setting goals for next year."
State tournament action begins Thursday at various sites in the northwest suburbs.