As the old song says, friendship makes a perfect "blendship."
Glenbard South first doubles Jenna Brambora and Rachel Rettger, longtime close friends and standouts at singles and doubles, respectively, last year, have joined forces as juniors to form a doubles team that could be headed to state.
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On Tuesday they won their first-doubles match 6-3, 6-0 to lead the host Raiders to a 5-2 win over visiting Metro Suburban Conference rival Riverside-Brookfield.
The Raiders (11-4, 5-0) swept the four doubles matches.
"Rachel is the perfect partner for me," said Brambora, who made state as a singles player last year. "We've been close friends for a long time and we have good chemistry. We know each other's strengths and weaknesses and we communicate well on the court, and I think our friendship has something to do with that."
"Today we had good volleys and our service game was strong," said Rettger, a conference doubles champ last year. "We also played the wind very well."
After losing three games in the first set, the two knuckled down to top the Bulldogs (10-5, 2-3) 6-0 in the second set.
"We started off well and then we relaxed a little," Rettger said. "But we decided to play more aggressively and that worked because we were really consistent in the second set."
Brambora admitted that there were some adjustments she had to make in order to become a strong doubles player, but there again her partnership with Rettger has made a big difference.
"There's a lot more thinking and strategy in the doubles game," Brambora said. "We have to keep learning how to play as a team, how to run plays and set up points. I think we're improving as the season goes on."
Glenbard South coach Kevin Graham believes the girls have complementary skills and that also has a lot to do with their success.
"They're both athletic and they can get to a lot of balls," Graham said. "Jenna has excellent groundstrokes and she knows how to put the returns in the right place. Rachel is aggressive, she serves well and hits great overheads. When I saw that they got off to a lead today, I was confident they could close the match."
Graham also praised the recent work of third doubles Isabel Gritsonis and Stephanie Jaster, who have been on a hot streak, winning 6-2, 6-1 Tuesday.
"As a team we've been having a good year," Graham said. "Three of our four losses could have gone our way with just a few more points. We just need to finish with a strong conference tournament and sectional."
The Bulldogs' two victories were produced by second singles Victoria Bojovic and third singles Claire Wilson, who remained undefeated in conference by taking a three-setter.
"Claire has been our most consistent player," said Riverside-Brookfield coach Bob Hegner. "Our talent is pretty balanced from the top of the lineup to the bottom, so we have the depth to win matches as almost any position. Glenbard South played well today. They're probably the best in our conference."