ST. CHARLES – St. Charles East junior Jamie Youngberg plans to assign herself a big star once she assesses Tuesday’s match with her coach, Sena Drawer.
East players also can choose from small and in-between sizes for individual progress sheets they keep in their tennis bags.
A 7-0 win against St. Charles North left the Saints thinking the sky was the limit, regardless of the stars in their bags or the drought against the North Stars they swept. Visiting East defeated its crosstown and Upstate Eight Conference River Division counterpart for what Drawer believes was the first time since 2005. At that rate, why not go big?
“Last year, I feel like teams kind of felt like they were better than us because we didn’t have that good of a season,” Youngberg said. “This year, we’re coming out strong, just trying to prove to everyone that we’re not the same team as we were.”
Improving to 7-1 overall and 3-0 in the UEC River, East rolled behind a killer instinct that was evident in both its close and not-so-close matches.
Top singles players Sarah Church and Youngberg yielded a combined three games in their straight-sets victories, while the No. 1 doubles tandem of Haydyn Jones and Kelsie Roberton and the No. 2 pairing of twins Alexa and Carly Huskisson conceded a collective five.
While Jaci Spoerl’s 4-6, 7-5, 6-1 win against Lianne Anderson at third singles didn’t end as quickly, it still had elements of the Saints’ other singles victories.
Ditto for the pair of two-set tiebreakers East won at Nos. 3 and 4 doubles.
Ahead, 4-0, in the second set after fighting off North’s Emma Spellman and Micaela Mascha, 7-6 (8-6) in the first, Saints Meghan Gauthier and Kellie Sciurba flicked aside any sinking feeling when the score tightened to 4-1.
“For a minute, we were like, ‘Oh my God, not again,’ ” said Sciurba, a senior like her partner at third doubles, “so we just made sure to close it out and finish strong.”
North (2-2 UEC River) nearly forced a third set at No. 4 doubles, but the Saints’ Lauren McNally and Emmy Russell topped Brittany Rohrsen and Morgan Rerko, 7-1, in a tiebreaker.
North Stars coach Eve Tubman shuffled her lineup for the dual in an effort to even the team’s chances for victory. Dinah Washington, Youngberg’s opponent, was the only North player to remain at singles from a 7-0 sweep of Elgin the week before.
“Sena and I are good friends,” Tubman said. “Every year we talk. ‘Oh, next year is going to be your year.’ And we kind of said that last year, that this year was going to be her year. I just didn’t think it would hurt this much.”
East still arrived plenty early for the dual despite practicing for a few minutes at their home courts earlier Tuesday afternoon. Drawer wanted to see vast improvement in the team’s ground strokes after it faltered down the stretch in a series of competitive matches at Saturday’s Prospect Invitational.
With conference duals at Geneva (Tuesday) and against two-time defending UEC River champ Batavia (Sept. 27) on tap, the goal is to keep the momentum going.
“During the summer, all of us worked really hard,” Youngberg said. “Now during the school year, we’ve continued to put in that hard work and effort.”
As a result, the Saints continue to see stars.