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updated: 10/19/2013 6:55 PM

Barrington reclaims top sectional finish

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By Jonathan Jones
Daily Herald Correspondent

Once again, Barrington is a girls tennis sectional champion.

After having an impressive streak of eight sectional victories stopped last fall at Highland Park, the Fillies returned to form on Saturday at Lake Park with 28 points.

Barrington sent three entrants to the upcoming state tournament, including sophomore singles champion Michelle Linden.

The Fillies also sent their top doubles teams -- seniors Addie Hirsch and Anna Donoghue (second place) -- and junior No. 2 singles player Caroline Levy (fourth place).

Fremd mirrored the second-place finish it posted in last week's Mid-Suburban League tournament with 17 points. Third place was a three-way finish tie between Rolling Meadows, Elk Grove and Lake Zurich at 14 points.

"It was a team effort," said Barrington coach Tracy Waters-Miller. "We had the attitude that every point counts. They played for the thrill of being in sectionals. Our assistants and I are just saying 'Wow.' We all gathered together and got the most out of the team, on and off the court."

"Michelle did well. Every match she gets better and better. We had a good performance out of Caroline Levy, who was playing a tough match against one of the top players in our conference (Hoffman Estate senior singles player Courtney Lang)."

Linden punched her ticket to a second straight state appearance. She went to state as a doubles player last season with Zoe Kasiurak.

Following a bye in the first round, Linden defeated Fremd's Kate Randall 6-0, 6-2, Elk Grove's Sammie Marquardt 6-0, 6-0, Lang 6-1, 6-3 and Elk Grove freshman Jelena Vujanic 6-1, 6-1 in the finals.

"My goal is that I want to make the top 16 this year (at the state tournament)," Linden said. "I have the confidence to achieve my goal. It feels great to have my team going with me to state. It's more fun. Hopefully we could do better as a team."

Following their first MSL doubles championship on their home turf last week, three-time state qualifiers Allie and Jackie Kemph repeated as sectional champs. Even though the competition was more imposing this year, the twin tandem was determined to make their senior year a memorable one.

In the Kemphs' road to the state tournament, they had wins against Conant's Natalia Migdal/Gabby Kaminski 6-1, 6-0, Barrington's No. 2 team 6-2, 6-1, Fremd's Caroline Freeman/Alice Zhang 6-1, 6-1 and the defeated Donoghue/Hirsch in the final 6-3, 6-4.

"The wind was definitely a factor," Jackie Kemph said. "We get a little frazzled, but we definitely want to have fun with the state tournament because it will be the last time we play tennis together. We want to be all-state. Last year, we were one win away from getting there."

"My goals were to do well in conference and sectionals," Allie said. "Hopefully we do better than last year. It's important to not get nervous, because it's our last one."

Vujanic is the first representative from Elk Grove to earn a state tournament berth since 2001, when Liane Malinowski advanced. As a freshman, Vujanic follows in the footsteps of some prominent MSL peers that made the state tournament in their first year -- such as Lang and Linden.

"I'm not nervous going into play at state," Vujanic said. "I want to at least win one match and do the best I can do. Going in as a freshman is a pretty big deal."

Lang, who finished third in singles Saturday, is enjoying her senior year after gaining a state berth in each of her four seasons. A sectional champ last fall, Lang is committed to playing at Grand Valley State (Mich.) next season.

"My main goal was to make it to state again and represent my school every year," Lang said. "I'm hoping to go further than I did last year.

"I didn't even know about Grand Valley. But I did a lot of research, met the team and the coach. I fell in love with the school when I went to visit there."

Fremd advanced both doubles teams -- Freeman/Zhang, and Allison Tomal/Maggie Hanna. The two doubles teams fought out for third place against one another, with Freeman/Zhang winning 6-3, 6-2. It will be the first state appearance for each player.

"We're really excited we had both doubles advance," said Fremd coach Lauren Hall. "I'm ecstatic. We have to practice and keep going forward to compete at a higher level, so we can make it as far as we can go.

Hall said she appreciated the example set this season by senior singles player Amy Byrne.

"I can't say enough good things about her," Hall said. "She worked with determination and was a great model for the rest of the girls. I'm sad to see her go, but she'll be successful in college."

at Highland Park: Hersey advanced two singles players to the state tournament, junior Sara Magnuson (third place) and freshman Ana Karpetiani (fourth place). It will be their first state appearance.

Prospect seniors Christina Santiago/Lauren Saiki also received a berth into the state tournament with a third-place doubles finish. It will be their second state trip, but the first with one another in a tandem.

The host Giants won the team title with 36 points, with Hersey in second at 19. Deerfield (18) edged Prospect (17) for third place.

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