Girls Tennis: Lincoln-Way North edges Stagg for SouthWest Suburban Red title

Story Image Stagg's 1st doubles team of (L) Biz Pagoria and Cassie Newman came in 2nd place to Lincoln-Way North's team of Randi Slager and Sam Pietruszynski at the SouthWest Suburban Red tennis tourney held at Lincoln-Way Central on Saturday, October 06, 2012. | Larry Kane~For Sun-Times Media
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Updated: October 6, 2012 7:46PM

Most invitationals don’t see big-time drama at the finish. But there was plenty of tension in the air during the final match played Saturday at the SouthWest Suburban Red conference meet at Lincoln-Way Central.

Lincoln-Way North senior Gina Sipka definitely could feel it as she and her partner Kim Stremme battled Jana Mudrock and Marlee McCabe of Lincoln-Way Central for the No. 2 doubles title.

“About halfway through the second set I saw that everyone was watching us,” she said. “I knew that this must be a really big match.”

It couldn’t have been bigger. Lincoln-Way North needed the victory to snap a tie for first place with Stagg. Sipka and Stremme came through, winning 6-2, 6-4 to clinch the championship and snap Stagg’s three-year hold on the top spot.

The league crown was the first-ever for Lincoln-Way North, which scored 33 points to narrowly beat out Stagg (31). Andrew (17) edged out Lincoln-Way Central (15) for third.

“This meant a lot,” said Phoenix senior Randi Slager, who along with teammate Sam Pietruszynski reigned at No. 1 doubles via a 6-1, 6-4 victory over Cassie Newman and Biz Pagoria of Stagg. “It is such a great feeling finally winning conference all together. Hopefully this will be the beginning of a new tradition.”

Lincoln-Way North also captured the No. 4 doubles title, as Katy Tolsky and Katie Pergolizzi defeated Kayla Delabre and Abbey Rogers of Bradley 6-2, 6-3.

The No. 3 doubles championship went to Hannah Richardson and Lauren Ruhe of Lincoln-Way Central, who defeated Sarah Berger and Alex Hodges of Lincoln-Way North 5-7, 7-6, 6-1.

It was a successful end to a regular season in which Richards and Ruhe became doubles partners at about the halfway mark.

“I started the season at first doubles and then I missed a tournament so I was moved down to third doubles,” Ruhe said. “We worked really well together so we stayed partners. Now we’re conference champs. We really wanted this.”

Stagg swept the singles competition, winning all three title matches in straight sets. The Chargers were led at No. 1 singles by Vicky Kulbokas, who defeated Emily Maynard of Lincoln-Way West 6-1, 6-2.

“Today I tried playing as consistent as possible,” Kulbokas said. “It was a little cold out there, but the wind wasn’t as bad as (Friday).”

At No. 2 singles, Nicole Pampilis of Stagg defeated Jenn Bechtold of Lincoln-Way North 7-5, 6-1. Jill Atkenson, who is also Kulbokas’ doubles partner, won at No. 3 singles, defeating Angie Romero of Lincoln-Way North 6-2, 6-2.

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