Nicolet Sweet 16 tennis invite still interesting despite the rain
Homestead, Nicolet doubles teams win titles
In the mind of organizer and Nicolet girls tennis coach and Sweet 16 Invitational meet manager Tim Koppa, the event was just an hour or two away from perfection.
That was until the heavens opened up and dumped about an hour's worth of rain on the area Saturday afternoon turning all five sites that matches were being played on into over-sized puddles.
"That sucked," said Koppa succintly with a dejected sigh. "Everything had been rolling along and we were into the last round. Then that happened and everyone's day got extended by about five hours."
In short, "So, Mrs. Lincoln, otherwise, how did you enjoy the play?"
But it did go fairly well otherwise for the Knights, who got a championship from the second doubles team of Josie Docalavich and Erin Wathen and wound up third in the final standings with 87 points behind Middleton, which edged Eau Claire Memorial, 971/2-97 for the title.
Homestead short on players
Meanwhile, five-time defending state champion Homestead was missing three singles players for a variety reasons including two-time state singles champ Elizabeth Konon, who was out on a college visit, and had to settle for eighth with 63 points.
The Highlanders picked up a title from the first doubles team of Mardee Merar and Kayta Mikhailanko.
"The first doubles team played very well and the subs we had in (at singles) played very enthusiastically," Highlanders coach Jackie Egelhoff said, "but we would have liked to have had everyone get the opportunity to play the best (competition) out there. You don't like missing a chance to play the good ones."
Whitefish Bay used a balanced effort to take sixth with 691/2 points. New Blue Dukes coach Mike Hayes looked at the big picture and liked what he saw.
"North Shore tennis fans were treated to a great display of statewide talent," he said. "...(We) showed great strength in singles with Lilly Hayes, Asia Butler, Gwennie O'Connell and Katy Marget each securing at least two wins."
The three teams will see a lot of each other again this week, as Homestead took on Nicolet Tuesday, and Bay is at Nicolet on Thursday.
Hayes' assertion of the depth of talent at the meet was entirely correct as aside from Middleton's three crowns in singles, there was balance in the event as five different teams won flight titles.
Nicolet's run was led by Docalavich and Wathen, who cruised past Kettle Moraine (6-1, 6-1); Bay (6-1, 6-4); Memorial (6-0, 6-0) and DSHA (6-2, 6-1) pairs for their title.
"They were amazing," Koppa said. "...Not losing a set was incredible, just a great tourney. They're streaking right now and I hope they stay hot."
The Knights first doubles team of Sara Miller and Michelle Margolies would have had just as good a tourney if not for the roadblock from Homestead that was Merar and Mikhailanko. The Highlanders pair defeated Kenosha Tremper (6-0, 6-1); Brookfield Central (6-4, 6-2); and Oshkosh West (6-3, 6-4) pairs before defeating their counterparts from Nicolet in the finals, 6-2, 6-3.
"They really played well and showed good focus," Egelhoff said of her top team.
"Sara and Michelle played well," Koppa said. "They had a good win over Middleton (a three-set effort in the semifinals)."
For Nicolet, other places went to the following: Emily Mone fourth at first singles, Nina Gerard fifth at second singles, and freshman Elise Gerard third at third singles. Koppa was very proud of the younger Gerard in her first go-round at the Sweet 16.
For Homestead, the jerry-rigged singles lineup did have its moments as Anna Kreynin was sixth at first singles after moving up from the second spot as was substitute Emma Wade at fourth singles. The third doubles team of Andrea Rossman and Hannah Goddard earned the same spot.
For Bay, the balance showed as Hayes was fifth at first singles, O'Connell sixth at third singles and Marget fourth at fourth singles. In doubles, the second crew of Maddie Riedel and Coeli Merrill was sixth.
Hayes had special praise for O'Connell and Marget at third and fourth singles, respectively.
"They have been playing their hearts out against each other in practice," he said, "and they and the Bay team are the beneficiaries."
He noted that the first doubles team of Allison Gregg and Carly Theder had a tough first round loss and were relegated to the backdraw, but he likes their chances as the team gets deeper into the season.
Hayes also took the long view of the tournament, noting that though Homestead was short-handed, the event showed that the Highlanders will have plenty of competition when it comes to trying to earn a sixth straight WIAA State title next month.
"But they (the Highlanders) need to be careful," he said. "...Don't pen them in yet."
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