Fenwick High School girls tennis coach Gerard Sullivan felt at the start of the season that the Friars’ doubles teams would be their main strength.
That has turned out to be the case as Fenwick, buoyed by a 1-2 finish in doubles, won the IHSA Class 1A Lemont Sectional on Oct. 16 with 30 points.
The Friars’ No. 1 doubles team of sophomore Trinity Hardin and freshman Megan Trifilio claimed the title over their teammates, freshman Rachel Abraham and junior Maeve Paris, in straight sets (6-1, 6-2).
“Trinity and Megan had the top seed, and it was pretty clear that they were the best team in the draw. They didn’t drop more than two games in any match,” said Sullivan. “I almost moved Trinity to number one singles before the conference tournament because I thought her and Megan were too strong, but they weren’t happy about it and wanted to be back together. They stormed through conference, and everything worked out.”
Sullivan was also impressed with how his No. 2 doubles team performed at the sectional.
“I told everyone they were dangerous because they had experience at number one,” Sullivan said. “Rachel and Maeve beat two seeded teams, including the number two seed, to gain the finals.”
Paris, who would’ve qualified for state in No. 1 doubles last year had the tournament not been canceled due to COVID-19, missed most of this season due to injury. But Sullivan said she was determined to come back for the postseason.
“Maeve is a real gamer,” he said. “She was waiting to get the cast off her arm every day, and she made it clear that she was coming back and someone was dropping out.”
Fenwick junior Kate Trifilio advanced to the state finals in singles despite losing the No. 2 singles title match to Emma Davis of Providence Catholic 0-6, 1-6.
“Kate pulled an upset in the semifinals, defeating the number two seed,” Sullivan said. “It was an overachievement, and for her to get to the finals was special.”
The Friars, who also won the Girls Catholic Athletic Conference championship on Oct. 9, will participate in the state finals at Buffalo Grove High School on Oct. 22-23.
OPRF doubles team advances to state finals
Oak Park and River Forest High School finished third at the Class 2A Leyden Township Sectional with 16 points. The Huskies’ No. 1 doubles team of junior Martha Brennan and senior Basma Raja advanced to the state finals with a second-place showing, losing the title match to Jayna Dunwoody and Jenna Stevens of Whitney Young.
“As I was going into the sectional, we knew it was going to be a big challenge [to qualify] in singles,” said OPRF coach Fred Galluzzo. “But we knew we had two good doubles teams and felt confident about their chances.”
Galluzzo was hopeful his No. 2 team of seniors Angie Berggren and Margot Eldred would also make it, but they lost their quarterfinal match to York.
“They played as well as they could, but they fell a couple of points short of getting it done,’ he said. “It stinks that their season and [high school] careers are over, but they’re both capable of playing in college, whether it’s [NCAA] Division III or the club level at Division I.”
A highlight of OPRF’s season came on Oct. 5 when the Huskies were able to host Fenwick for Senior Night. It marked the first time in almost two years that a match was held on campus as the courts have been closed due to campus construction.
“It’s been a tough situation for the kids, especially the seniors,” Galluzzo said. “They’ve been through a lot the last couple of years. But they’ve been remarkable, and we felt we needed to show them our appreciation.”
Brennan and Raja will participate in the Class 2A state finals Oct. 22-23 at Buffalo Grove.