Girls tennis: Fremd captures sectional championship
Different day, same result for Fremd Saturday at the IHSA girls tennis sectional at Fremd in Palatine.
The Vikings Alina Shyani outlasted Rolling Meadows' Hanna Haber 6-4, 1-6, 6-4 to capture the singles title. In doubles, the team of Sonal Matta and Gracie Ha of Fremd knocked off Barrington's Sofia Hutchison and Sam Kim 6-1, 6-3, to win the title.
Last week Shyani as well as Matta-Ha beat the exact same opponents to win the Mid-Suburban League crown.
With those victories in the sectional and the third-place finish of Fremd's second doubles team, the Vikings won the sectional championship Saturday with 31 points. Barrington was second with 27 and Hersey third with 12.
"It means everything," Fremd coach Scott Newmark said. "You put your best six out there and compete against some great talent. I couldn't be any prouder. It was a great season."
Shyani, who is a freshman, had to grow up quickly in her title match. She had beaten Haber twice this season, including a 6-4, 6-0 win last Saturday for the MSL title.
After winning the first set in the sectional final against Haber, Shyani found herself losing a set for the first time this season. Haber, who is a junior, roared back with an impressive 6-1 win in the second set to put the pressure on Shyani.
Shyani battled her own nerves and a very strong wind to win the first two games and the final two games of the set to win 6-4.
"It was windier and Hanna was playing real good," said Shyani, who finished the season 23-0. "She was hitting through her shots. It was stressful in the moment. I was pretty frustrated. I just tried to stay calm and hit through the ball."
Newmark said that Shyani found the focus when she needed it most.
"The hardest thing to do is beat an opponent twice in a row," Newmark said. "When you win all your matches and get used to that and finish matches without thought, someone tests you. And Mother Nature tests you too. And it is tough to have that focus. But she was able to find it."
Matta and Ha appeared to be in trouble as well when Ha injured her ankle early in the match. But after having her ankle wrapped, Ha continued play and the duo roared to a straight-set win.
"The ankle is ok," Ha said. "There is no pain, but I will have to look at it at home. I knew when I fell, I knew I had to get right back up because I wanted this win real bad."
Matta said it hard playing the Barrington group again.
"It is really difficult playing them a lot, especially in the wind," Matta said. "But we communicated well and figured it out."
Barrington's Priyanka Bhogaraju beat teammate Olivia Pak 6-1, 6-2 for third place in singles.
Fremd's doubles team of April Wu and Katie Sze won third place when the team of Nisha Janamanchi and Amani Alvi were forced to retire due to an injury.