Girls tennis: Downers Grove North's 1-2 punch wins again
Behind the singles duo of Emily Wittmer and Liveta Ezerskis, the Downers Grove North girls tennis team added another chapter to its successful 2021 season Monday.
Improving to a combined 25-3 in dual meets, Wittmer and Ezerskis didn't lose a game in helping the Trojans defeat Glenbard East 7-1.
The sophomore Wittmer, who also played No. 1 singles as a freshman, improved to 12-1 in dual meets, which includes a 3-1 mark in the West Suburban Silver Conference.
"This year I am more confident," Wittmer said. "I kind of know the teams and what I'm up against. I had a lot of practice over the summer; my serve has improved and I changed a lot of my technique. Overall I'm more well rounded when it comes to singles."
Ezerskis is now a perfect 13-0 at No. 2 singles in duals (her two losses came at No. 1 singles when Wittmer played doubles).
"I practice a lot outside of here with my dad," said Ezerskis, who competed in the offseason with the Gladiator tennis team and the Naperville tennis club. "I put in many hours daily including the weekend; I play year-round and it all started with my dad training me.
"I'm pretty happy with how I'm playing right now. And as a team, we've had a good ratio of wins to losses. We have a lot of seniors (10 seniors) and we've done a lot of team bonding. We all trust each other. We built up that team chemistry in the beginning and that has led to this success we are enjoying together."
The sister tandem of Meghan and Kate Southworth won 6-2, 6-0 at No. 1 doubles. Also victorious in straight sets were the pairings of Gina Liu and Lauren Dry, Olivia Ludwig and Emily Adamo and Brooke Kowalski and Gretchen Nelson.
"Our team has done really well this season," Wittmer said. "I think it's because our team chemistry has improved. With doubles and singles, we are cheering each other on and we have been able to pull out a lot of wins in our matches."
Adding in recent 7-0 decisions over Glenbard South and Proviso West, along with victories against Metea Valley, Riverside-Brookfield and Bolingbrook at its own Trojan Invite, DGN is now 10-7 in dual meets on the fall.
"They've been coming together," coach Dana Graczyk said, "and they are all contributing to wins. We have 10 seniors and it's a very tight team. Obviously that helps with the maturity of the team, they are able to mentor the younger players, but it also helps pull out some of these tougher matches."
The Rams got their sole win from No. 3 singles player Claire Flanagan, who won in a third-set tiebreaker after dropping the first set 6-1. The young Glenbard East squad had won five consecutive dual meets, all within the Upstate Eight Conference, coming into Monday.
"I'm really proud of Claire's resilience," Glenbard East coach Bill Burt said. "Coming back after losing the first set 6-1, that doesn't happen a lot.
"We are happy with our record in the conference and we are hoping to reach a crescendo as the season goes on."