Girls Tennis: Tinley Park’s Haley Wilcox earns Lincoln-Way East Sectional singles title

Story Image Andrew's Shari Coughlin gets ready to receive a serve during her IHSA Sectional semi-final doubles match Saturday, October 13, 2012. | Allen Cunningham~For Sun-Times Media
Story Image

Updated: October 13, 2012 6:46PM

Having come tantalizyingly close to capturing a sectional crown last year as a freshman, Tinley Park’s Haley Wilcox could speak with absolute authority about one thing following her 6-0, 6-1 victory over Hope Ritter of Lincoln-Way East in Saturday’s Lincoln-Way East Sectional title match.

“It’s much better winning,” said Wilcox, who lost in the 2011 finals to Andrew’s Dani Hoffman. “I’ve been looking forward to this ever since last year. Hopefully it’ll get me a better draw (at state). I had to play the No. 1 seed in the first round last year.”

Wilcox and Ritter will be joined at state by Emily Maynard of Lincoln-Way West and Olivia Knuth of Lincoln-Way North. Maynard beat Knuth in the third-place match on Saturday, 6-0, 7-5.

The doubles championship went to Sam Pietruszynski and Randi Slager of Lincoln-Way North, who defeated Alex Giesey and Shari Coughlin of Andrew 6-2, 6-3. The other state qualifiers were Gina Sipka and Kim Stremme of Lincoln-Way North and Grace Hilgenbrink and Sarah Florek of Lincoln-Way Central. Sipka and Stremme won the third-place match in a tie-breaker, 5-7, 7-5, 10-4.

Lincoln-Way North captured the team title (23 points) over Andrew (20) and Tinley Park (18).

Because of inclement weather conditions, the sectional was contested at three different locations. Play at Lincoln-Way East was interrupted by rain after the semifinals. The meet was moved to Park Forest Racquet Club, but after a short period of play it had to be moved again to accomodate leagues that were on the club’s schedule. They finally settled at Homewood Raquet Club, where Wilcox and Ritter picked up their match with Wilcox leading 1-0 in the first set.

“I like playing indoors a lot better,” Wilcox said. “All of my shots were working much better. I think my serve was going in a lot more consistently and my forehand was working pretty well today.”

Ritter rebounded from the first set whitewash to win the first game of the second set, but the momentum switch didn’t last long.

“She’s got a wicked backhand, and she’s got consistent serves,” Ritter said of Wilcox. “We both play here over the winter and I played in a group with her, and she’s really good and really consistent. I’m really happy for her because she deserves it.”

The doubles title for Pietruszynski and Slager came on the heels of their SouthWest Suburban Red conference title the weekend prior.

“Honestly, we just had to keep our confidence, keep driving the ball at the net,” Pietruszynski said. “Today our serves were really good. Randi had an awesome serve going on. I think that was a big factor in the win.”

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