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updated: 10/14/2013 10:58 PM

Naperville Central feeling good heading to sectionals

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  • Naperville Central's Tiffany Chen returns a volley during the DuPage Valley girls tennis finals at Naperville Central.

      Naperville Central's Tiffany Chen returns a volley during the DuPage Valley girls tennis finals at Naperville Central.
    Daniel White | Staff Photographer

By Neil Shalin
Daily Herald Correspondent

Naperville Central finished a really special season last weekend.

The Redhawks topped off their 15-1 campaign last weekend by winning the DuPage Valley Conference title, taking five of the seven individual finals matches.

In four of the five finals, the Redhawks defeated archrival Naperville North, getting the best of the Huskies for the third time in a week.

"It was a great year and now we're looking forward to sectionals," said Naperville Central coach Don Bonet, "Our goal is to qualify three positions for state."

Bonet had high expectations going into the season and the Redhawks came through.

"We had great senior leadership," he said. "We knew we would be strong at the top of the lineup, but to have this kind of season, you need the lower end of the lineup just as much and those girls delivered."

Naperville Central first singles Tiffany Chen led the Redhawks with a 6-3, 6-0 victory in the finals. Third singles Hannah Swarm, who ended the year with a 24-2 record, won her finals battle 6-1, 6-0.

The Redhawks' first three doubles teams of Cindy Liu and Cass Goldner, Meagan Bedigian and Sara Furukawa and Cassie Zhang and Kathryn Storey were all conference champs as well.

Fourth doubles Emily Hu and Brook Stensby gave the Huskies their lone win over the Redhawks. West Aurora's Carley Frauenhoff was the winner at second doubles.

East Suburban Catholic Conference:

Benet overcame an injury-riddled season and the loss of three of its top players and won East Suburban Catholic Conference title with 78 points to runner-up Carmel's 71.

Coco Tzakis won the conference championship at second singles while Carissa Tsouchlos and Allison Bartley were the winners at third doubles.

"Coco has had a solid season," said Benet coach Michael Hand. "She's really been a rock, a mainstay who showed that she's ready to be a leader next year."

First singles Leah Tzakis and second doubles Annie McGuigan and Emma Langer, both of whom were seeded third and made it to the finals of the tournament before losing, helped seal the Redwings team championship.

"If you had told me three weeks ago after we had lost three doubles players that we would be conference champs," Hand said. "I'd have said you were crazy. But the girls really stepped up to the challenge. They were committed, they knew what they had to do and they performed."

Suburban Christian Conference:

First and second singles players Ava Kolman, a junior, and Mia Mazza, a freshman, led St. Francis to its fourth straight Suburban Christian Conference crown by winning their matches in the postseason tournament that was complete Monday, after a rain-shortened day on Saturday.

The Spartans finished the season with 18 points, two ahead of second-place Wheaton Academy.

"Ava is so focused and mentally strong," said St. Francis coach Marcia Bussey. "She has a variety of shots and she's very even-tempered. She's been a good teacher for Mia in practice every day. A lot of her strengths have rubbed off on the freshman."

Wheaton Academy's Lexi Welton and Betsy Jones, both seniors, were the conference champs at first doubles, and the Warriors' Kylie Hultgren and Maisie Howland were the winners at second doubles.

"Lexi and Betsy haven't lost this year," said Wheaton Academy coach Matt Hockett. "They've played together two years and they really know each other. They fought back from first-set losses in both the semifinals and the finals. They have guts and can fight through adversity and grit it out. Kylie and Maisie have great momentum going into sectionals. They're very capable of pulling an upset."

Metro Suburban Conference:

Glenbard South swept the four doubles final matches on Monday to win the Metro Suburban Conference championship with a narrow 59-56 win over Timothy Christian.

The Raiders defeated the Trojans in the first two doubles matches, with Jenna Brambora and Rachel Rettger winning 6-3, 6-1 at first doubles and Jennifer Lipa and Natalie O'Dowd chalking up at 6-2, 6-1 win at second doubles.

Isabel Gritsonis and Steph Jaster were the third doubles conference champs and Pearl Opem and Emily Schmidt won the crown at fourth doubles.

"We're excited to have won conference," said Glenbard South coach Kevin Graham. "The girls played well and capped off a successful season that shows how hard they worked. We're looking forward to sectionals with Jenna and Rachel as potential state qualifiers."

McKenna Byrne and Abigail Kumar, both of Timothy Christian, won first and second singles, respectively.

"Both girls have come on really strong the past few weeks," said Timothy Christian coach Keith Mills. "It's encouraging for a coach to see that kind of improvement during the year."

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