Girls tennis: Wang's singles win propels Stevenson to sectional title
For the second time in a couple of weeks and the third time this season, the rematch between Sarah Wang of Stevenson and Autumn Rabjohns of Lake Forest took place in the Stevenson girls tennis sectional at the Vernon Hills Athletic Center in Vernon Hills on Saturday.
They split the previous two matches, with Rabjohns winning recently in two sets last Saturday at the North Suburban Conference meet.
This time around, Wang bounced back with another 2-hour plus match and got past Rabjohns 7-5, 6-2.
"It feels good to win it, because I lost to (Rabjohns) before," Wang said. "I really wanted to win this one. I really pulled it out and every point was hard. I think I put less pressure on myself and I didn't think about winning. I was focusing on one point at a time and really wasn't thinking about the outcome during the match."
It was another grind of long rallies, including an opening set that took 85 minutes. At one point, the match was tied 5-5, when Wong had to pull through 4 deuces holding serve for a 6-5 advantage. She followed up to break serve and won the opening set 7-5.
Wong then broke Rabjohns' serve three times in the second set on her way to a 6-2 win.
Both players are expected to among the top seeds at next weekend's state tournament hosted by Buffalo Grove.
Stevenson won the sectional title, finishing with 28 points. Lake Forest second (26), Libertyville third (20) and Warren fourth (14) among the nine teams that competed.
"I think the doubles teams and the singles girls were just resilient to fight every single point," Stevenson coach Jose Morales said. "We had some tough loses against some really, really strong teams from both Lake Forest and Libertyville. But, at the end of the day, we came through with a team win and I'm very happy about it."
Both Patriots' doubles teams advanced to state. Annika Hou and Sonia Mehta of Stevenson fell to Lainey O'Neil and Isabelle Chong of Lake Forest 6-3, 6-3 in the final.
Libertyville's Alexandra Berns and Hadley Warren took the third-place match over Thea Surya and Kate Herlihy of Stevenson 6-3, 6-4. Both teams advance to state.
"We were stressed all year, making sure we got our one doubles and two singles down there (state)," Libertyville coach Dan Kiernan said. "I think they deserve to go down and they obviously have proven it. When we saw Lake Forest was with us, we got a little worried. It all worked out and the girls played well."
Libertyville's Maggie Forkner defeated teammate Lena Dogadalski for third place 6-2, 6-2. Both players qualified for the state tournament.
"It kind of felt like practice in the best way possible," said Forkner, a junior. "I just want to stay focused and not worry about the results. Just worrying about being in the moment, going point by point. I just don't want to put to much stress on myself. State is supposed to be fun. You work your entire high school season to get to this point. When you're finally at it, you don't want it to stress you out."
Also, in her freshman year, Dogadalski will get the opportunity to compete next weekend.