Girls tennis: Glenbard West's sisters a tough act to beat
Glenbard West's Sienna and Shannele Lopez did the same thing Saturday morning at the Class 2A St. Charles North sectional that they have done all season -- win and win big.
The sisters -- Sienna, a senior, and the sophomore Shannele -- stayed unbeaten by taking the sectional doubles championship and putting themselves in position for a top four seed at next week's state tournament.
The duo started the day beating Batavia senior Maddie Durso and sophomore Leah Puttin in the semifinals, 6-2, 6-0, then met teammates junior Emma Chirila and senior Ashley Samuta in the final. They won by the same 6-2, 6-0 score.
"This match was a match where they showed a lot of what they are capable of," Hilltoppers coach Kevin Graham said after the final. "They have grown a lot as doubles players throughout the year. They hadn't played a ton of doubles but it's been a lot of fun to see them develop their game."
Sienna Lopez, who will play college tennis at Purdue Northwest next year, qualified for state the last three years in singles.
"For my senior year I wanted to do something different and wanted to play doubles with my sister since it's going to be my last year seeing her in high school," Lopez said. "We do sometimes have arguments but we just settle it down and figure each other out."
The sisters played crisp tennis Saturday, mixing powerful ground strokes with a soft touch and sharp angles on their volleys.
"I'll miss her and want to spend my last year with her trying to win state," Shannele Lopez said. "We have our ups and downs sometimes but when it comes to hard matches we know what we're going into."
Their teammates Chirila and Samuta are making a return trip to state after winning a round there last year.
"We have a lot of great players on the team and are very fortunate to have the opportunity where we're competing with each other to win the sectional," Graham said. "It was fun. They (the No. 2 doubles team) are back playing well. They have had a really nice year as well."
After qualifying for state in doubles last year, Wheaton Warrenville South's Emily Orlove made it in singles this year by winning the sectional title Saturday with a 6-2, 6-2 win over Glenbard North's Sage Hills.
"Just to not let her push me around, control my game," Orlove said of her strategy against an opponent who handed her one of her just two losses this season. "The first match I played her I conformed to her game. This one I stuck to mine, hit well, went for my shots. Consistency helped me win today. Feels good for sure."
St. Charles East coach Matt Bulman spent his morning bouncing back and forth between watching seniors Elena Melone and Jamie McDermott in doubles and Emaira Saini in singles.
Saini rallied for a 2-6, 6-4, 6-4 win over West Chicago's Katrina Dy to take third place, and Melone and McDermott came up short in a 4-6, 7-5, 7-5 loss to Durso in Puttin for third place. All the third and fourth place finishers also will play in the state tournament.
St. Charles East (21) edged Glenbard West (20) and WW South (18) for the team championship.