Glenbard West and Conant moved away from the field on Saturday at the class 2A Schaumburg tennis section.
And in the final, the Hilltoppers pulled away from the Cougars.
Glenbard West beat Conant in both the championship doubles and third place in the doubles, and Hilltoppers’ top singles player, Shannele Lopez, also won a section championship to lead the Hilltoppers to the title, their fourth in the past five years.
The only year that Glenbard West did not win in that period came last year when St. Charles East beat it by one point.
“We were consistent and confident,” said Emma Chirila, senior first doubles player at Glenbard West. “I am very proud of them all.”
Glenbard West won the section with 29 points, Conant scored 22 and no one else had more than 14 from Lake Park.
Chirila teamed up with Elizabeth Fausey for a 6-4, 6-3 win over Conant’s Riya Jain and Simren Mahajan in the doubles title match. The two are a relatively new combination, finishing the year 6-0 after Fausey moved to the top pair following an injury from Chirila’s previous partner.
The Hilltoppers took an early lead in both sets, 3-0 in the first and 5-2 in the second, for a cushion that helped when Conant tried to come back.
“We are working towards our strengths,” said Fausey. “She’s very good at poaching, so we’re trying to maximize her poaching. We tried to hit the ball wide and make our serve.”
“Elizabeth is very good at getting good returns,” said Chirila.
In third place in doubles, Lauren Deebs and Norah Chirila of Glenbard West beat the sister team of Conant, Nirali and Anjali Patel, 6-4, 6-3.
In recent years, all four of those doubles teams are said to have qualified for the state. This year the state tournament is canceled due to COVID-19.
“Even though there is no state tournament, we congratulated all of them on qualifying for the state,” said Conant coach Matt Marks. “We treated it exactly the same way. You could see the excitement playing in the first and third games.”
Marks took pride in the way Jain and Mahajan competed against a talented Glenbard West duo.
“I thought they played great,” said Marks. “They showed up and made me proud. Some competitive points, some great points overall. Overall, as a team, we had a successful season and ended it on a high note.”
One of the best matches of the day came in singles. Elk Grove’s Peyton Oda upset No. 2 seed Analisa Cruz from Lake Park 6-3, 6-4, in the semifinals.
Oda attributed the winnings to her game on the net.
“I was just trying to be aggressive and get to the net,” said Oda. “She hit a lot of lobs and I tried to sneak in and work on my volleys and it worked.”
That earned Oda a spot in the championship game against No. 1 seed Lopez, who had lost just one game in her first three section matches.
But it was Oda who jumped to a 3-0 lead in the opening set.
“I tried to focus on the intersection,” said Oda. “I tried to hit the corners and hit behind her because she’s pretty fast. I tried to be aggressive, hit deep.”
Lopez noticed that and put the offensive style on her side of the net, leading to several high-level rallies with the two players taking it out.
Lopez eventually settled down and took a 7-6 (2) win in the opening set and a 6-1 win in the second for the sectional championship.
“I struggled there,” said Lopez about the start. “I guess for some reason I wasn’t on the field with my mind yet. As the first set went on, I just tried to stay focused and work on my breathing because I got a little angry there. much more aggressive than I was. I think I should make her run more and give her more offense. “
Oda also finished second in last year’s section.
“I am very happy,” said Oda. “I knew Shanelle was going to be a tough competitor. She’s a lot better than me on paper.”