Girls tennis: Prospect stays undefeated with win over Hersey
The Mid-Suburban League East girls tennis coach with "laugh" in his surname guides a seriously good squad.
Prospect net boss Mike McColaugh watched his mighty Knights down host Hersey 6-1 Tuesday afternoon and improve to 9-0 overall and 2-0 in the division.
"Each singles player and each doubles team in my lineup is capable of winning a big match -- and each has," a straight-faced McColaugh said. "One week it's No. 4 doubles. The next it's No. 3. Then, one of our singles players comes through for us."
His No. 3 singles player, senior Allie Biewenga -- normally an exhibition player -- came up huge after her promotion on Tuesday, notching a 6-3, 6-2 victory.
"There's another example (of a clutch performance)," McColaugh noted. "Allie keeps the ball in play. Nothing fazes her. And she's smart."
Knights freshman Kara Pescaru used her head and talent to defeat Hersey junior Audrey Zagorski 6-1, 6-2 on the No. 1 singles court. The youngest of all netters in the MSL East dual in windy, overcast conditions, Pescaru got downright powerful to end some points and relied on consistency to win others.
Her best shot of the day came in the sixth game of the second set, with Zagorski serving. Pescaru planted herself at the "T" to brace herself for a wicked groundstroke from Zagorski. Pescaru's ensuing reflex volley sailed over Zagorski and landed a few feet inside the baseline.
"The wind," Pescaru said, "definitely helped me on that point."
The Knight would break serve to go up 4-2.
"I was kind of nervous before the start of tryouts, this being my first year of high school tennis," Pescaru admitted after the match. "But everyone on the team (including older sister Hannah Pescaru, a senior) couldn't have been nicer to me. Showing up to practice is the highlight of my day."
The highlight of Hersey's Tuesday was junior Sophie Lee's 7-5, 1-6, 10-8 (super tiebreaker) triumph at No. 2 singles. Lee followed up an effective drop shot with a crosscourt forehand winner to claim a pivotal point late in the breaker.
"Sophie's match toughness has improved considerably since last year," said Huskies coach Sharon Meintzer, whose crew slipped to 2-3, 1-1 in the MSL East.
Prospect swept the four doubles tests Tuesday in Arlington Heights. Seniors Katherine Doyle/Natalie Katsaros -- doubles partners since making the varsity as freshmen and doubles finalists at a Class 2A sectional last fall -- recorded a 6-2, 6-2 win at No. 1. Katsaros' strong first and second serves, along with Doyle's fearless finishes at net, powered the duo.
"Our team's depth is carrying us," Doyle said. "Our entire team is having fun, but we're serious when we need to be."
"Our team," Katsaros added, "is super solid, super close."
Prospect's other winners on Hersey's hard courts: Lucy Nunez/Kate Seyer (No. 2 doubles); Amelia Grave/Zoe Klicker (No. 3); and Olivia Macina/Christina Ukkan (No. 4).