Girls tennis: Benet edges Batavia for SCE title
If you alphabetized the eight teams that competed in the St. Charles East Mary Carlson Invitational on Saturday, Batavia and Benet would be the first two teams.
And once the competition ended, the schools were number one and two but not exactly in alphabetical order.
With five first place and two second place finishes, Benet edged out Batavia, 56-52, for the first place plaque.
The Bulldogs took three first place medals and two second place ribbons.
Most of the teams had to fill their rosters with junior varsity players to replace varsity ones taking the ACT test.
"I thought we would do pretty well. Part of it is, there are a lot of people are missing players. I think in one way we weren't missing as many players as other teams," Benet coach Michael Hand said. "I also think the kids did a really good job. We had all but one position get into the finals which if you are going to win a tournament like this one, that's what you have to do."
"We have had a lot of success so far early in the season," said Batavia coach Brad Nelson. "We felt like we had the depth to compete for the title."
Nelson also had to fill some holes in his lineup.
"We had all of our doubles teams pretty much intact. We had a different one doubles team today," Nelson said. "In the singles, we had different girls step up and play and do a good job."
The No. 1 singles title was the most challenging match for Benet.
After dropping the opening set 6-2 to Wheaton Warrenville South's Emily Orlove, Daniella Nenadovich rallied to win the second (6-3) and third sets (10-8) to take home the first place medal.
"I improved on my consistency. I was pretty inconsistent during the first set. I thought to myself that I need to get balls back. I changed the way I was hitting the strokes," Nenadovich said. "I wasn't trying to over-hit it or hit big winners, I was just trying to rally balls and keep them in."
Benet's Caroline Austgen and Meredith Green captured the No. 2 and No. 3 singles titles. Batavia freshman Dhruthi Daggabati took top honors in No 4 singles.
The two schools went head-to-head in all four doubles championships. Benet won the No. 1 and No. 4 doubles crown, while Batavia took the No. 2 and 3 titles.
"One doubles (Kendall Schrader and Kaitlyn Lee) started out real slow," Hand said. "They were down 5-2 in the first set of their first match and then just steamrolled from there."
The duo bested Batavia's Leah Puttin and Morgan Steinys 6-2, 6-1 for the No. 1 doubles championship.
"We had to stay aggressive but be consistent at the same time," said Lee.
"And we really need to close out points out at the net," added Schrader, a Butler commit.
Angela Mathew and Erin Spahn captured No. 4 doubles for Benet.
The duo of Sophie Cange and Alex Klein earned a medal in No. 2 doubles while teammates Katie Connolly and Bella Lins took top honors in No. 3 doubles.
Led by Honor Moore (third place No. 2 singles) and the No. 2 doubles team (third place), Wheaton North place third with 39 points.
Host school St. Charles East and Naperville Central both earned 36 to tie for four fourth. Freshman Smita Dhar led the Saints, earning a second place ribbon in No. 2 singles.
"We were right in the mix. Our first singles (Emaira Saini) had to default unfortunately. She's nursing a hamstring injury so that's tough," St. Charles East coach Matt Bulman said. "Smita, our third singles, played two today and got second, so that's a huge win."
Michelle Zheng took top honors for Naperville Central, finishing second in No. 4 singles.