Girls tennis: Season forges on as many teams shine
Considering the start of the season was in doubt a month ago, the fact that the girls high school tennis campaign is going strong is quite an accomplishment during this COVID-19 pandemic.
Local teams have racked up the victories, including Cary-Grove (16-3), Prospect (12-4), Huntley (12-1), Timothy Christian (10-0-1), Fremd (10-4), Barrington (9-1), Glenbrook South (9-2), St. Francis (9-8-1), St. Charles East (8-1), St. Viator (8-7), and West Aurora (8-5).
Three teams, however, have stood above the rest and remain unbeaten (and untied) -- Batavia (13-0), Benet Academy (13-0), and Jacobs (8-0).
Despite graduating their best three singles players and top doubles team from a year ago, Batavia keeps rolling along, evidenced by its 6-1 DuKane Conference victory over Glenbard North on Tuesday.
"I'm not sure if I'd say it's a pleasant surprise because we knew our returning kids had the ability to put us where we're at right now," said Bulldogs coach Brad Nelson. "But we did have a lot of unknowns heading into the season.
"We have four new doubles teams, and they're all contributing. The girls are having a lot of fun."
During last Saturday's 5-1 win over St. Charles North, Batavia swept three singles matches behind Alex Klein, Dhruthi Daggubati, and Isabella Helm while receiving straight-set triumphs from its top two doubles combinations of Leah Puttin/Bella Lins, and Katie Connolly/Adriana Carbonara.
The North Stars' win came from Alyssa Joseph and Allie Gizewicz at third doubles.
"One of the keys for us is the success of the lower levels -- getting them ready for varsity so that the adjustment period is minimal," said Nelson.
Puttin, a junior who teamed with Maddie Durso to capture the conference No. 1 doubles title last year, is now paired with fellow junior Lins, and the duo already owns 12 victories.
Seniors Connolly and Carbonara, meanwhile, also have won 12 matches in the No. 2 doubles slot.
"We looked at all of the different doubles combinations during the summer," said Nelson. "We looked at how their skill sets complemented each other, and things like temperament, personality and leadership."
It might have been hard for them to see our thinking at first, but they've all bought into it and they're playing great," the coach added. "We've lost two doubles matches all season. I think we're 63-2 -- that'll get it done."
Meanwhile, Benet Academy ran its unbeaten streak to 13 with Tuesday's 5-2 win over Naperville Central.
Senior Daniella Nenadovich, who placed 6th in state (Class 1A) singles play a year ago, earned her 11th win of the season with a 6-0, 6-0 victory against Naperville Central.
Meredith Green added her own 6-0, 6-0 victory at No. 2 singles -- also her 11th of the season -- while the Redwings' top doubles teams of Kaitlyn Lee/Felicity Kolb and Jaclyn Mehring/Claire Converse continued their winning ways.
Mehring and Converse combined for their 12th win of the season, a come-from-behind, 6-7 (4), 6-4, 10-5 thriller over the Redhawks' Shae Yendrek and Leah Symanski.
"Claire and Jaclyn stepped up in what turned out to be the last match of the day," said Benet coach Michael Hand. "The Naperville girls played great as well. It was wonderful tennis to watch."
Benet's road will get even tougher the next two weekends against Neuqua Valley and Batavia.
"It has been kind of a weird year," said Hand. "We're five weeks in and we've only played two away matches but this is a good year not to have to travel much."
Jacobs, which knocked off Prairie Ridge 6-1 on Tuesday, has outlasted 3 opponents -- Crystal Lake Central, Cary-Grove, and Huntley -- by similar 4-3 decisions.
Key contributors for the Golden Eagles include Chloe Siegfort and Isha Desai at singles, and the doubles teams of Kaya Trumbo/Lara Santa-Ines, Alison Gerhardt/Sam Seibert, Bryn Reicha/Amelia Stoner, and Lissie Kontos/Anya Wieczorek.
Huntley improved to 8-1 in the FVC with Tuesday's 5-2 win over Crystal Lake Central, sweeping singles action behind Ruhi Gulati, Elaina Hibbeler, and Alessandra Rivera.
The Red Raiders' top doubles team of Kylie Phommasack/Michelle Barnvos added a 6-2, 6-2 victory.
Timothy Christian downed Rosary 6-1 on Tuesday, as Crystina Lee, Clarissa Chen and Kate Carpenter notched singles wins. The Trojans also took 3 of 4 doubles matches, led by their top pairing of Cassandra Lee/Sarah Carstensen.
Rosary's win came from its 4th doubles duo of Jamie Harte/Sara Leuer.
In Tuesday's other action, Maine South edged Evanston 4-3 behind singles wins from Mina Radosavljevic and Eva Zaskowski; Morgan Glatzhofer improved to 9-0 at No. 1 singles during West Aurora's 7-0 win over Oswego; Conant defeated Hoffman Estates 6-1 with singles wins from Natalia Sadon and Jessica Hernandez-Goncalves; and York edged Lyons 4-3 with a 3-set win at No. 4 doubles from Clare Hewitt and Maddie Jeffery.
On Monday, Fremd downed Rolling Meadows 5-1 with 3-set singles victories from Sonal Matta and Claire Skowron.