By Mark Jurgena, Reporter
The Triad girls tennis squad claimed their third consecutive Class 1A IHSA Sectional crown last weekend as they won their annual battle with Belleville Althoff, at Althoff, by three points.
In all four years since the IHSA has gone to two classes, Triad and Althoff have finished 1-2 in this sectional. Althoff won the initial meeting.
“It for sure feels good to win the third in a row. They’ve (the sectionals) all been really tight. It’s definitely been a nerve wracking two days but our girls performed really well; competed very well,” said coach Devan Faulkenberg.
Head to head in this sectional, Triad beat Althoff in four of the five matchups played by members of the two schools.
Triad seniors Evelyn Wells and Bailey Grigg qualified for the state tournament by earning 2nd and 3rd place respectively in singles competition.
Wells beat Natalie Cohn of Althoff 6-7, 6-1, 6-1 in the semifinals. That match secured the team title for the Knights. However, she fell in the championship match to Ella Mostoller of Mascoutah 3-6, 3-6.
“Evelyn is a very tough competitor she’s not an emotional tennis player; she has a very calm energy about her, this year she stepped up to #2 (singles) very well,” said Faulkenberg.
Wells advanced to state last year in singles competition.
Mostoller had defeated Grigg 6-1, 6-1 in the other semifinal. Grigg rebounded by beating Cohn of Althoff 6-0, 6-2 for 3rd place. It was her second win over Althoff in the sectional.
“Bailey is a really athletic kid, maybe the best athlete in our sectional. She played through some nerves in the first round and then really came up big for us after that,” said Faulkenberg.
Grigg was all-state in doubles last year at the state tournament.
Both Triad athletes went 3-1 at the tournament.
In doubles play, senior Gillian Rockwell and freshman Jocelyn Carmody came in 2nd place. They lost the title contest 1-6, 5-7 to Kylie Chitwood and Maddie Mena of Althoff.
The Triad duo registered a 3-1 mark for the tourney.
“We’ve got a senior/freshman combination which is pretty rare. Gillian has a big game, she has the biggest forehand, the biggest backhand, the biggest serve I would say and she’s a very good net player. Her partner Jocelyn, she just got better and better as the year went on. They were a pair that I didn’t put together until later in the season,” Faulkenberg said.
The duo had a big win for the team standings in the opening round over a team from Althoff. In the 2nd round they needed three sets to beat a tough doubles pair from Roxana to advance to the championship day.
Rockwell advanced to state in doubles play last season.
The Triad girls now advance to the IHSA Class 1A state tournament beginning today at Buffalo Grove High School.