Sectional title is patient Warren's reward
It was worth the wait for Warren's girls tennis team.
Morning rain showers pushed back the start of the final day of the Lakes sectional in Lake Villa on Saturday. After the resumption of play by midafternoon, matches didn't conclude into the evening hours under the lights at Lakes.
Warren advanced both of its singles players and doubles team to this week's state tournament. The Blue Devils won the sectional with 35 points, Antioch was distant second with 17 and Grayslake Central placed third with 16 in the 10-team field.
"It was a crazy, long day," Warren coach Vince DeSecki said. "I'm glad with the win and the way we finished it. It was cool to play under the lights. We're now going to state."
Karyna Bihel captured the singles title by defeating her Blue Devils teammate Alex Mella 6-0, 6-3 in the championship match.
"I'm really happy to win it," said Bihel, who improved her season record to 26-3. "I've worked hard all season and I'm glad it paid off."
Bihel made it to state last year as a sophomore. She reached the Round of 16 before losing her first match. She them played in the consolation back draw, won a match and lost her second one. Her expectations this year are to make it to the top eight.
"I'd like to go one round better," Bihel said. "I just want to do well for the team."
Bihel reached the semifinals as she got past Kelsey Neville of Antioch 6-1, 6-0. Neville won the third-place match over Grant's Gaby Schoenberg by default. Both Neville and Schoenberg qualified for state.
Warren also won the doubles, as Mikayla Schultz and Megan Waterhouse got past Grayslake Central's Brenda Zador and Sarah Adornetto 6-0, 6-3. The Blue Devils' doubles team of Roxanne Pantelyuk and Julia Papillon picked up third place over the Lakes' Morgan Visser and Ally Perdue 7-5, 7-6.
"There were a number of good doubles to qualify," DeSecki said. "They were good teams to go against. It's a perfect time to peak."
Schultz/Waterhouse reached the finals by defeating Visser/Perdue 6-1, 6-0 in the semis. Zador/Adornetto beat Pantelyuk/Papillon 6-1, 6-0 in the other semi.
Zador/Adornetto and Visser/Perdue are also going to state.
Lakes will be sending its first girls to the state meet since 2007.
"It's been a long drought and we finally broke it," Lakes coach Bryan Plinske said. "It was a pretty special day for them, and I don't think it's kicked in yet. It will, and they will realize that it's a pretty good accomplishment."