State is just a week away and it’s sectional time at Naperville North. Day one on Friday features a matchup with Kayla Hess and Angelica Alvarez from Waubonise Valley taking on Tiffany Cheng and Callie Genovese from Naperville North looking to move on to the quarterfinals.
Hess and Alvarez played singles most of the year, but the WV seniors have played as a doubles pair in sectional play before, and it shows as the Warriors duo advances to the quarterfinal round.
In the other doubles quarterfinal, Alex Dram and Katie Liu from Naperville Central face Yurui Sun and Hannah Kestenberg from Neuqua Valley for the right to qualify for state.
Dram serving and this sets up a great volley between the two teams, back and forth they go as eventually Sun and Dram trade shots until finally Dram finds the net and the Wildcats get the point.
The Redhawks take the first set 6-3 and in the 2nd set, another long volley is set up with the NV duo not ready to give up, all four players get involved until finally Alex Dram reaches up and drops a backhand just inside the line. The Central duo earns a spot at state by making the semi finals in a tough 6-3, 6-2 match.
The final state spot of day one is between Kayla Hess and Angelica Alvarez against Taylor Goldman and Isabella Palm from Metea Valley. Goldman looking for her third trip to state and 2nd as a doubles player while this would be the first for Palm.
A fantastic volley in the first set as Hess with a backhand, that Palm tries to smash home, a quick reaction from Alvarez somehow gets over the net, catching the Mustangs by surprise. Back to back games for Waubonsie.
But the Metea duo would rally as Palm serves before going back and forth with Hess, eventually the Warriors return falls short of the net and Goldman and Hess clinch their state spot, 6-4, 6-1.
On to the 2nd day and another Mustang heading to state is Meera Baid, the junior makes her third straight state trip before falling to Hannah Neuman from Neuqua in the semi finals. In the third place match, Baid faces Makayla Buenafe from Oswego East. Baid secures the first set 6-2.
After a tough 2nd set, Baid secures some more points for her team by winning the third place match, putting the Mustangs into the top three of the team standings.
The singles championship is a clash of two of the area’s best, Hannah Neuman from Neuqua heading to state for a third time but the first time for singles. Jacquelyne Qi of Naperville Central is back at state for the third time as well.
Qi serving in the far court, showing off the power and accuracy, forcing Neuman to get a little off balance as the return goes wide. Qi takes set one 6-2.
But Hannah Neuman is too strong of a player to roll over, a great forehand down the line sets up an easy smash to earn the point. Neuman right back in it.
In the 2nd set, Qi eventually pulls away, this serve is too hot to handle on the inside corner as the Redhawk senior wins her 2nd sectional championship and first since 2016.
The third place doubles matches features Alex Dram and Katie Liu against Sofia Ramos and Emiley Piao from Neuqua Valley, all of them heading to state, but both teams fighting for the sectional plaque.
Ramos with the serve and a great follow up shot in the back corner, just out of reach. This matchup is neck and neck throughout.
But After taking set one 7-6, Dram and Liu take set two 6-3 for the straight set victory, thanks to nice shots like this one.
The doubles championship puts Taylor Goldman and Isabella Palm up against a pairing that has been borderline unstoppable this year, Tiffany and Irene Zhang.
Irene Zhang was part of a sectional champion doubles team last year, while Tiffany made it to state in doubles as a freshman in 2017.
Irene has the serve working in set one, she curves this one just inside the line and outside the reach of Goldman. Huskies take the first three games in the set.
Just some outstanding tennis here as this rally goes back and forth between all four players, on both sides of the court with plenty of tough shots near the net. The point finally ends with a smash from Isabella Palm as the Mustangs battle back into contention.
Some more impressive play as the Zhangs show how difficult they are to put away, Tiffany with a pair of impressive low backhands, getting enough English on the last one to die for the point. The Naperville North duo wins the sectional doubles championship. Neuqua Valley wins the Naperville North sectional for a 2nd straight year by a single point over Metea Valley and Naperville Central, the Redhawks get the tie breaker by having a champion in Jacquelyne Qi. Best of luck to everyone at state this week.
Check out the season leading up to sectionals in our Girls Sports Highlights!
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