ST. CHARLES – Geneva didn’t crown any singles or doubles champions at Saturday’s St. Charles East Sectional girls tennis tournament, but the Vikings walked away with the team championship plaque anyway.
Geneva used second- and third-place finishes in singles and a fourth place in doubles to edge Batavia, 23-21, for the team title.
Geneva junior Kirby Einck dropped a tough championship match to Sycamore sophomore Angelina Ye, 6-4, 4-6, 6-2.
“I play her so much and every time it’s so close and then she ends up winning,” Einck lamented. “Of course, she’s my toughest competitor. I really wanted that.”
Ye defeated Einck in the semifinals of last year’s sectional tournament at East and went on to win four of six matches in the state tournament, including another victory over Einck.
This time, Ye led just 3-2 in the third set before winning three straight games to close out the match.
“She stepped up her game,” Einck said. “I just wasn’t playing my A-game and didn’t bring it enough.”
As one of the top four finishers, Einck will still advance to next week’s state tournament, hosted by Buffalo Grove High School and played at various courts in the region.
“I reached my goal,” Einck said. “I did better than I did last year. I got second place. Overall, I’m happy with it. That [championship] match – unfortunately, I lost it, but I felt like I played well.”
Einck, who also went 4-2 in matches at last year’s state meet, will be joined in the singles competition this year by teammate Grace Krueger, who took third place with a 6-3, 6-3 victory over Batavia’s Nora McClure.
“I thought I did pretty well,” Krueger said. “My goal was to make it to state and I accomplished that, so I’m happy.”
Krueger, a freshman, dropped a 6-3, 6-1 decision to Ye in the semifinals. “I’ve learned a lot from Kirby,” Krueger said. “I’ve learned how to just hit more aggressively with Kirby because she’s such a hard hitter.”
McClure is one of five Bulldogs heading to state. The Bulldogs advanced both of their doubles teams, with Jenny Mizikar and Amelia Cogan finishing second and Brooke LeFevre and Sydnee Unterberg placing third.
Mizikar and Cogan dropped a contentious title match to the Bartlett duo of Jennifer Gates and Gabriella Gregorio, 7-5, 6-0. An impartial line judge was dispatched to rule on disputed calls and harsh words were exchanged by players and spectators alike at the conclusion of the match.
Afterwards, Mizikar and Cogan tried to wash away the bad taste from that match by reflecting on the positive aspects of the tournament.
“I believe that me and Jenny played phenomenally this weekend,” Cogan said. “We stayed together through winning and losing. We played with grace and we never doubted each other for a second.”
Mizikar, a senior, said she’s looking forward to making her third trip to state with Cogan.
“I’m really excited,” she said. “This is our third year together and our final year. We’re going to come out with a big bang. It’s going to be fun, especially with some other teammates going. I’m really excited about that.”
LeFevre and Unterberg reached the semifinals by knocking off the No. 2-seeded doubles team of Lexi Welton and Betsy Jones, 7-5, 6-3. The Batavia pair then fell to Gates and Gregorio, 6-1, 6-2, before bouncing back with a 6-2, 6-1 victory over Margo Hess and Emma Hazel of Geneva in the third-place match.
“We worked hard and we never doubted ourselves,” Unterberg said. “We just kept fighting every point. It felt so good to pull through.”
The duo qualified for state in their first year as partners.
“As a senior, it feels great because this is my first year going,” LeFevre said. “I’m really excited. I hope we can do as good as we did here.”
Wheaton Academy and St. Charles East tied for fourth in the team standings with 14 points apiece, but failed to advance any players to state. Also shut out of state competition was St. Charles North, which finished seventh in the 10-team field with six points.