BATAVIA – Lauren Herrman and Morgan Hess are about as close as they come.
The Batavia seniors are doubles partners in tennis and longtime French horn-mates in band. Given their last names, fittingly, the duo expects to be side-by-side once graduation rolls around.
On Tuesday, Herrmann and Hess made the most of their final home match, defeating Geneva’s Liz Fallon and Nicole Leskun, 6-2, 6-2, at No. 3 doubles as part of the Bulldogs’ 5-2 Upstate Eight Conference River Division win against the Vikings.
“There wasn’t really anybody else I would have rather been partners with for tennis,” Herrmann said. “Me and Morgan are a lot alike so we always get along. Even though we have our disagreements on the court sometimes, we always end up coming off with a smile and having a good day.”
Hess said she and Herrmann have proven to suit one another as partners; the girls are in their second season as a tandem.
“A lot of people are friends but not necessarily the best doubles teams,” Hess said. “It’s worked out pretty well for us.”
Batavia’s victory capped a 6-0 run through UEC River dual meets, giving the program its fourth straight unbeaten season in conference duals dating to the final year of the Western Sun Conference. Geneva was the last team to hand Batavia a conference loss in 2008.
A 4-3 dual meet win against St. Charles East this season made the Bulldogs sweat, but Batavia enters this weekend’s conference meet in superb position.
“These girls just had a great season,” Batavia coach Brad Nelson said. “I couldn’t be happier.”
Nelson was especially heartened Tuesday by the performances turned in by Liza Fruendt, who defeated Geneva’s Emma Hazel, 6-3, 6-2 at No. 2 singles, and Nora McClure, who topped the Vikings’ Shannon Foster, 6-0, 6-2, at No. 3 singles.
“I was really happy with our singles play today,” Nelson said. “Liza and Nora played very well. They played two solid opponents and won by pretty convincing scores. That was big for us.”
Fruendt played somewhat of an unconventional match, mixing in many more deep lobs than she’s accustomed to hitting in an effort to keep the formidable Hazel out of rhythm.
“I usually don’t just throw up lobs – it’s only when it’s needed,” Fruendt said. “When they come into the net, you try and lob it, but today it was working, the lob was working good for me, so I kept doing it.”
Geneva’s victories came at No. 1 singles (Kirby Einck) and No. 2 doubles (Joanie Educate and Margo Hess won the meet’s lone three-setter).
Einck handily defeated Batavia’s Miranda Grizaffi for the second time this season. Considering Grizaffi is one of the top singles players in the area, Einck’s 6-1, 6-0 win bodes well for the sophomore’s weekend.
“It makes me a little bit more confident but you never want to be overconfident,” Einck said. “You always just want to go in and hope to play your best.”
Einck has lost three matches on the season, two of which to Naperville Central’s Tiffany Chen.
At No. 1 doubles, Batavia’s Jenny Mizikar and Amelia Cogan breezed past Geneva’s Kelsey Hess and Bridget Weitzel, 6-1, 6-0. The Bulldogs were also triumphant at No. 4 doubles, where Betsy Oroni and Courtney Hutchinson notched a straight-sets win.
The win made the senior day cupcakes taste all the sweeter for the Bulldogs, though the end-of-the-line feel to the day prompted a twinge of melancholy for Herrmann and Hess. As No. 3 doubles players, they won’t be part of the sectional lineup, so this weekend’s conference meet is their final opportunity.
“Today made it a little more real,” Herrmann said. “... Especially with the win, we should be on a good track for conference.”