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updated: 10/19/2017 10:35 PM

Girls state tennis: Draw does Benet no favors

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  • Wheaton Warrenville South's Samantha Choi defeating Palatine's Kanae Kawai during first round action of girls state tennis tournament matches at Palatine High School.

      Wheaton Warrenville South's Samantha Choi defeating Palatine's Kanae Kawai during first round action of girls state tennis tournament matches at Palatine High School.
    Bob Chwedyk | Staff Photographer

 
 

So much for the luck of the draw.

After winning the Class 1A team championship in 2016, Benet moved up to Class 2A this year. The Redwings not only are taking a step up in enrollment class, they are finding the best the bigger schools have to offer.

Benet doubles pair Kendall Schrader and Daniella Nenadovich won their two matches Thursday, only to get a shot at No. 1-seeded Amia Ross and Ali Benedetto of New Trier on Friday morning at Wheeling High School in the third round.

"If we play the way we're capable of playing, I think we've got a shot," Benet coach Michael Hand said. "You get this far in the tournament, you can't play half. You've got to play your best, and everybody does or else you either go in the back draw or go home."

Freshman Allyce Gaborik saw the best in Class 2A's singles tournament a round earlier, meeting No. 1 seed Kolie Allen of Glenbard East in the second round Thursday. Allen, an Ohio State recruit, won 6-0, 6-3.

"Allyce played a good first match and then the No. 1 seed," Hand said. "That's pretty tough. I think she played well. But you learn from those matches. You learn that if this is where you want to be, this is what you need to do. So it's kind of nice to see that. You've got to see them at some point. You wish it was later in the tournament, but I think it was a good experience for her."

The step up in class doesn't require too much of an adjustment for the Redwings.

"We know what the competition is," Hand said. "We play mostly bigger schools anyway in our area. So it's not like a shot to the system to all of a sudden see all of these (athletes). We know the competition. The girls know each other whether they're 1A or 2A schools. They play each other in the USTA tournaments during the year, so there's no surprises.

"The competition itself is overall better from top to bottom."

St. Francis is tied for eighth in the Class 1A team standings with 8 points. Doubles team Alyssa Gulli and Marnie Kopec reached Friday's third round, losing just two games in the first two rounds combined.

Top-seeded 1A doubles pairs Abygale Ahn and Cassandra Lee of Timothy Christian lost just four games in their two matches to advance.

In the Class 2A team standings, Glenbard West and Hinsdale South are tied with Stevenson for second place with 12 points. Hinsdale Central, the defending champion, is fifth at 11 points.

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