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Sports

Saturday Sentinel: Area tennis has rarely been stronger

I recently introduced you to the area's two state-qualifying doubles tandems — Haley Collins and Sarah Sirovy of Coal City and Monica Davy and Leah Lines of Morris.

If you follow tennis in the area, you probably know that the area having multiple state qualifiers is rare. It's actually the first time that has happened since 1997, when Morris had three entrants — Gina Ringer in singles and Michelle Kern and Lexi Vertrees along with Deanne Devine and Erin Shay in doubles.

Moreover, the area has now had state qualifiers in four consecutive seasons. That hasn't happened since one local double team qualified each year from 2000 to 2004.

You could say we're in one of the greatest areas for local prep girls tennis we've ever seen. Davy and Lines are both just sophomores, meaning the era is likely a long way from being over. And while Collins and Sirovy are both seniors, there's plenty of evidence that the area's talent pool is a long way from drying out.

When I talked to Collins prior to the state tournament, one thing she seemed especially proud of was the way the other Lady Coalers performed at the Ottawa Sectional.

"As a team, Coal City finished third," Collins said. "Besides mine and Sarah's, we had two other teams — our (No. 1) singles and (No. 2) doubles team — that both won in the first round. ... I'm really happy with how we did."

Morris, which tied with DeKalb for fourth place in the team standings at Ottawa, does not have a single senior on its roster. Minooka, which defeated Morris 4-3 in a late-season match, will graduate just two players.

Davy and Lines had some success in their first experience at state. They started with a 6-1, 6-1 loss to Abbie Boswell and Kamile Stadalnankait of Naperville North, but bounced back to defeat Emily Parsons and Callie Sinn of Sterling, 6-4, 6-4. Davy and Lines were then eliminated by Catherine Joss and Molly Wallach of Fenwick in the second round, 6-1, 7-5.

Going into the tournament, the Morris duo had no real expectations. They had accomplished their primary goal simply by qualifying.

"They really wanted to get to state after last year, when they were one match short," Morris coach Luke Windy told me prior to the tournament. "It's just gravy from here on out. They'd like to play well. They're not playing to just lose two matches and come home. They'll get to face some great competition."

Collins and Sirovy beat Monica Patthana and Julie Schreiner of Hampshire 4-6, 6-3, 6-1 in their first match. Laura Gutierrez and Mia Sullivan of Fenwick dealt the Lady Coalers' combo a 6-0, 6-0 second-round loss. In the consolation bracket, Collins and Sirovy went out with a 6-2, 6-3 loss to Marissa Garoufalis and Molly Traverso of Sandburg.

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