Last season was special for the Fenwick High School girls tennis team as it finished third in the IHSA Class 1A tournament, gaining the first state trophy in program history.
This year’s team has been just as good, and maybe even better, than last year’s. The Friars repeated as Girls Catholic Athletic Conference champions and on Oct. 14-15 made a successful defense of the Class 1A Elmhurst Timothy Christian Sectional title with a perfect score of 36 — 10 points better than the runner-up and host Trojans.
In doing so, Fenwick advanced its top two singles players and doubles teams to the IHSA Class 1A state finals, which will take place Oct. 22-23 at various schools in the northwest suburbs.
“It was what we knew we could do, and we pulled it off,” said Fenwick coach Gerard Sullivan. “Timothy’s a very strong team we beat in a dual meet and we knew they’d be coming back at us hard. [But] we had our foot on the gas.”
Fenwick’s top two singles players and top two doubles teams have been dominant most of the season, and that was evident at the sectional.
Sophomore Lily Brecknock defeated classmate Megan Trifilio 6-1, 6-1 to claim the singles title, while sophomore Trinity Hardin and senior Kate Trifilio defeated sophomore Rachel Abraham and senior Maeve Paris 6-3, 7-6 (9-7) for the doubles championship.
“It’s bittersweet,” Sullivan said of teammates having to play each other for titles. “But I told them to think how good it would be if you have to play each other for first, third or fifth at the state meet. And it could happen, because they’re that good.”
Abraham, Hardin, Paris and the Trifilios were members of last year’s squad, and Sullivan believes that they’ve improved this year.
“We’re on a whole different level,” he said. “The five who are back are way better than they were last year, both in terms of quality of play and their mindsets. They’re more confident.”
OPRF advances 2 doubles teams to state
The Oak Park and River Forest High School girls tennis team placed second at its IHSA Class 2A sectional on Oct. 14-15 with 22 points, 13 behind West Suburban Conference Silver Division rival York.
“I feel we’ve been getting better as the season’s gone on in terms of how we’re playing in doubles,” said OPRF coach Fred Galluzzo. “Our singles girls played well, too, but they had an uphill battle this weekend.”
The Huskies advanced their top two doubles teams to the state finals. Senior Martha Brennan and sophomore Maeve Marzec lost in the final to York’s Keira Polach and Lindsey White in three sets (6-7, 6-1, 3-6), while seniors Clara Ottati and Maya Schwartz lost to the Dukes’ Josie Coan and Sasha Neidigh in two sets.
“I know Martha and Maeve are disappointed, because they beat that team in the regular season,” Galluzzo said. “It was a tough match and they played really well today but couldn’t get them.
“I’m extraordinarily happy for Clara and Maya because they’ve worked so hard. They’ve been playing and working together for almost four years and it finally paid off for them.”
OPRF’s top two singles players bowed out in the quarterfinals. Freshman Maria Clara Lau lost to eventual sectional champion Lizzie Isyanov of York in straight sets, as did sophomore Anika Gupta to state qualifier Bella Mendez-Robles of Whitney Young.
“This one was really tough,” Galluzzo said. “York has a pair of kids who are going to be among the top 12-14 players in the state. And both of the Whitney Young girls also have a chance to do well at state.”
Gupta, Lau, and Marzec return for OPRF next fall along with five other players.
“They’re going to come back and work on this, and I feel really positive about it,” Galluzzo said.