Huskies shine at sectional Friars finish runner-up

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By CAM WIGTON

Tennis Sectional Results
It was OPRF tennis' weekend to shine.

The Huskies cruised to a first place finish last weekend with 32 points in the sectional tournament, while Fenwick finished in second with 20 points.

In all, 32 sectionals were played last weekend throughout Illinois, with the top four qualifiers from each sectional moving on to the State tournament held this weekend.

OPRF had a banner weekend with singles players Camille Gebert and Margaret Kempster and doubles players Bryce Buchowicz, Elizabeth Hanley, Delna Weil and Catherine Hunter all qualifying for the State tourney. The Huskies finished with a 7-6 overall record and posted a 3-3 record in the West Suburban (Silver) Conference.

OPRF coach Fred Galluzzo wasn't fazed by his squads' success considering the highly competitive WSC.

"The [WSC] is one of the best conferences in the state," he said. "We knew we had very good singles players going into the sectional. Our doubles teams' were the real surprise. We probably used about 12 or more combinations this year. But, they really came through in the clutch for us."

OPRF senior Gebert led the way for the Huskies, claiming her third sectional championship (second singles championship) with a (6-3, 7-6 [7-2]) win over Fenwick's Colleen Kelly.

"It really feels great to be a sectional champion for the third time," Gebert said. "I think this year is really special though, because everyone qualified. I really think that will help with everyone's confidence and really keep everyone positive."

Galluzzo is also confident in his team, though he believes the draw at State will make or break the Huskies' chances.

"It really is all about the draw you get," he said. "Camille will get a 32 seed, because she won her sectional. This will hopefully give her a couple of easy rounds. Once she breaks through to the third round, anything can happen. I think the same thing for Margaret. The doubles, however, are going to have a much more difficult time because there are five or six really talented teams. But, we will see what happens."

Advancing for the Friars were Kelly at singles and Rachel Dillon and Kathryn Wilkie in doubles. Fenwick (8-1 ESCC) coach Gerard Sullivan was pleased with the second-place showing by his squad.

"Honestly, we finished where I expected," he said. "It was good to come away with three wins and to have some decisive wins over some quality players. This weekend was a good confidence builder for us."

After failing to advance to the State tournament last year, Kelly spent the year honing her game, which paid big dividends over the weekend. It took a year for her to exact revenge, defeating Kempster in straight sets. The senior (19-11 overall) took second overall at the sectional, falling to Gebert.

The doubles team of junior Rachel Dillon and senior Kathryn Wilkie (9-3) will be making their second trip to State thanks to a dominating performance which ended in a sectional championship. The duo showed their experience with a straight set (6-3, 6-1) victory over OPRF's Bryce Buchowicz and Elizabeth Hanley.

"They took advantage of their second seed and really came out very aggressive on Saturday," Sullivan said. "I challenged them and they stepped up. They beat both Oak Park teams and did not lose any momentum all day, which is not easy."

Senior singles player Jennifer Morris (5-3) fell in the first round, while the doubles team of juniors Catherine Maloney and Eva Vaughn (13-11) failed to qualify as well.

Now, Fenwick only has two days to prepare for the tournament, but Sullivan is confident in his players.

"I think they are pretty ready," he said. "All of them have been to states and have won matches there. I think they are all playing well enough to advance to the second day of the tournament. As long as they come in confident, aggressive and mentally prepared, I think they can surprise some people."

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