ELGIN – Batavia's Lauren Hermann suffered a sprained ankle early in the first set of her finals match at the Upstate Eight Conference River Division meet Saturday.
Inspiring her partner at No. 3 doubles, Morgan Hess, was one thing.
It turned out the entire Bulldogs team fed off the performance as Batavia won its third straight conference crown when the No. 3 doubles result turned the tide.
Hermann directed several well-placed winners via drop shot and volley later in Batavia's 1-6, 6-2, 6-2 win, as she played closer to the net because of her balky ankle. She relied on her teammates and coaches to encourage her and help get her through the pain and match in victorious fashion.
"That was the difference," Bulldogs coach Brad Nelson said. "The third doubles match was amazing, what those girls did in that match. I've never seen [that] before and I have been coaching since 1999. It was just a great win for them I'm so proud of them."
Batavia also got some help from the No. 1 team of Jenny Mizikar and Amelia Cogan with a 6-3, 6-3 straight-set win over St. Charles East's Haydyn Jones and Kelsie Roberton, while Liza Fruendt scored another Batavia championship at No. 2 singles.
Batavia won four of the seven contested championship matches and together with its regular season championship claimed 69 total points to win the conference title.
St. Charles East only had one championship team – the No. 2 doubles tandem of twins Alexa and Carly Huskisson – despite finishing second overall in the meet with 65 team points. The Huskissons topped Geneva's Margo Hess and Joanie Educate 6-1, 6-3.
The Saints entered the tournament just one point behind the Bulldogs in regular-season dual points, but just came up short after earning three second-place finishes in the doubles matches.
The fourth doubles championship match was probably the most thrilling match of the day, as the St.Charles North freshman tandem of Morgan Rerko and Brittany Rohrsen defeated Lauren McNally and Emmy Russell of East, 4-6, 6-1, 7-6 (7-1). Down the stretch, Rerko and Rohrsen relied on their athleticism to take control of the tiebreaker.
Geneva's Kirby Einck earned an individual championship with a 6-2 6-0 win over Elgin's Dahlia Keonavongsa at No. 1 singles.