Girls Tennis: Providence captures sectional title
By Jeff Vorva For Sun-Times Media October 19, 2013 7:42PM
Providence's Hannah Davis returns a shot against Joliet Catholic's Nina Bertino during a 6-1, 1-6, 6-4 victory to win the Plainfield North Sectional singles title. | Jeff Vorva/For Sun-Times Media
Updated: November 21, 2013 7:03AM
Providence fans were seeing double trouble for a little while in the championship round at the Plainfield North Sectional on Saturday.
On one court was No. 1 singles player Hannah Davis, who split her first two sets with Joliet Catholic’s Nina Bertino but dropped the second set 6-1.
Nearby, the heralded doubles team of senior twins Maggie and Kelly Ruane also had split two sets with Joliet Catholic’s freshman tandem of Maddie Bauer and McCoy Hutchison and also had dropped the second set 6-1.
But Davis and the Ruanes ruined any upset hopes for Joliet Catholic by beating their respective opponents by 6-4 scores in the third set, and the Celtics won their first sectional crown since 2001.
“Those matches were mirror images,” Providence coach Ben Thompson said. “They were tight all the way through. We knew JCA wasn’t going to go away. They have great players and they were fighting us to the end.”
Davis sweated out a 6-1, 1-6, 6-4 victory over Bertino in a battle of sophomores for the title.
Davis said it’s the fourth time she beat Bertino this year and it’s the second time the match went three sets.
She said Saturday’s match with Bertino, a Lockport resident, had the most pressure.
“I lost momentum in the second set and wasn’t aggressive,” she said. “I had to just forget about the second set and start over. I said to myself I could do it and to think positive.’’
The Ruanes knew they were in for a battle with the Joliet Catholic freshmen because they split two meetings in the regular season. The twins also tried to stay positive after the lopsided second-set setback and rebounded for a 6-3, 1-6, 6-4 win.
“It’s hard to get the momentum back because tennis is such a mental sport,” Kelly Ruane said. “We had to help each other out.”
“We’ve been working since last summer for this,” Maggie said. “We had to go out and give it our all if we wanted to win it.”
The three Providence athletes and three Joliet Catholic athletes qualified for the state tournament along with Lockport freshman Tomi Joe Mansell, Plainfield Central senior Sarah Wurster and the Lockport doubles teams of Hailey Bruining and Britney Kupiec and Hana Khatib and Jennifer Lee.
Providence finished with 24 points. Joliet Catholic had 21, Lockport 20, Plainfield Central 12 and host Plainfield North 10.
The sectional title capped a big weekend for Thompson, who said he was in high school at Thornwood and had yet to take up tennis when the Celtics last won a sectional. Two years later, he played for Thornwood, and he eventually went on to play for the University of St. Francis and Eastern Illinois University.
He got good news Friday when the United States Tennis Association rankings came out.
“I was ranked 352 in men’s open in the nation. It’s the first time I cracked the top 500,” he said. “I found that out (Friday) and now this. It’s been a great weekend.”