Girls Tennis: Lincoln-Way West’s Maynard qualifies for state
By Tony Baranek firstname.lastname@example.org October 13, 2012 7:58PM
Lincoln-Way Central's Grace Hilgenbrink makes a play along the baseline during her IHSA semi-final doubles match Saturday, October 13, 2012. | Allen Cunningham~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: November 15, 2012 6:52AM
Lincoln-Way West’s Emily Maynard said she worked hard for four years to secure her first singles berth in the state finals after finally reaching her goal by beating Olivia Knuth of Lincoln-Way North 6-0, 7-5 in the third-place match Saturday at the Lincoln-Way East Sectional.
She also traveled many a mile.
Maynard started her first match at Lincoln-Way East and after rain forced the sectional field to find an indoor facility, finished it at the Park Forest Racquet Club. When a league that had reservations at the club resulted in another venue switch, Maynard won her final match at Homewood Racquet Club.
Pretty wacky day.
“Well ... I’m 10 times better a player indoors than outside so I was kind of happy about that,” Maynard said. “But then, having to go from place to place to place can throw off your mojo.”
Knuth gave her a real run after the first-set whitewash, battling to a 5-5 tie before Maynard stepped up and claimed her third win over Knuth this season in three tries.
“It’s always hard playing Olivia,” Maynard said. “We’re always neck and neck. The first time it took so long we had to go indoors to Park Forest. And our conference match was tough, too.”
Tinley Park’s Haley Wilcox captured the singles title via a 6-0, 6-1 victory over Hope Ritter of Lincoln-Way East.
Ritter rebounded from the first set to win the first game of the second set, but the momentum switch didn’t last long.
“She’s got a wicked backhand, and she’s got consistent serves,” Ritter said of Wilcox. “We both play here over the winter and I played in a group with her and she’s really good and really consistent. I’m really happy for her because she deserves it.”
The doubles championship went to Sam Pietruszynski and Randi Slager of Lincoln-Way North, who defeated Alex Giesey and Shari Coughlin of Andrew 6-2, 6-3. The other state qualifiers were Gina Sipka and Kim Stremme of Lincoln-Way North and Grace Hilgenbrink and Sarah Florek of Lincoln-Way Central. Sipka and Stremme won the third-place match in a tiebreaker, 5-7, 7-5, 10-4.
The doubles title for Pietruszynski and Slager came on the heels of their conference crown.
“Honestly, we just had to keep our confidence, keep driving the ball at the net,” Pietruszynski said. “Today our serves were really good. Randi had an awesome serve going on. I think that was a big factor in the win.”