CRYSTAL LAKE – The third time was the charm for Crystal Lake South’s doubles team Kelsey Laktash and Rachel Siemon on Saturday at the Cary-Grove girls tennis sectional.
After losing to Crystal Lake Central’s Jillian Wallace and Evelyn Youel once during the season and a week earlier in the championship match of the Fox Valley Conference Tournament, Laktash and Siemon defeated the Tigers’ pair in the championship match, 7-5, 6-4.
The top four places in singles and doubles at sectionals qualify for the IHSA State Final Tournament which begins play Thursday and is based in Mount Prospect and plays at courts across the northwest suburbs.
Laktash and Siemon said they were nervous going into the finals but tried to focus on the basics.
“We overthink everything,” Laktash said. “This time we went into it and played simple tennis.”
“It was a consistency thing,” Siemon added. “We made smart shots.”
Central’s Jenna Wallace won the singles title and secured the team title with a win against Belvidere North’s Lindsay Kirkham-Olsen in the finals. The Tigers finished with 24 points and Crystal Lake South was second with 23. Prairie Ridge was third with 20.
Ana Fedmasu took third place and is the first Woodstock girls player to qualify for state since 1999. She had a rough start. She beat the Gators’ Alaina Littlejohn in three sets in the second round and needed a second set tiebreaker to defeat Belvidere North’s Amanda Nevicosi in the quarterfinals to qualify.
“I couldn’t believe it,” Fedmasu said of qualifying. “I had a lot of pressure on me and I didn’t want to disappoint anyone.”
Also qualifying for the first time was Prairie Ridge’s Callie Schmit, who took fourth. Schmit’s semifinal, 6-3, 6-7 (6-8), 7-5, loss to Kirkham-Olsen took two hours and 40 minutes to play. She defaulted in the third place match to Fedmasu because of cramping in her legs.
“It was so exciting,” Schmit said of making it to state. “I was so relieved.”
Also qualifying in doubles were South’s Marisa Thome and Julia Thome who placed third and the Wolves’ Anna Kuechenberg and Natalie Favia who were fourth.
Tigers’ coach Katie Lashbrook said that she hopes the loss by Youel and Jillan Wallace will be a good learning experience.
“Hopefully it will get them ready for state,” Lashbrook said. “Sometimes that type of thing makes you more hungry.”