Newly minted WIAA state tennis singles champion Aly Coran of Homestead should be on top of the world.
The hard-slugging freshman did not drop a set in five matches at the individual tournament in Madison last week, leading a strong Highlander charge at the event. Further, when she and fellow freshman Carly Peck slid comfortably into the top two singles spots on a veteran team late this summer, they were pleased to find themselves enthusiastically welcomed.
Now Coran leads the heavily favored Highlanders in their search for their first team crown at Nielsen Tennis Stadium in Madison Friday and Saturday, Oct. 24 and 25.
Yes, Coran must be floating on air now.
But her mother, former 1978 Nicolet state doubles champion Dr. Judy (Becker) Coran, is not worried about her oldest getting a big head or losing perspective. That is because she started hitting with former Nicolet star Jimmy Paley when she was 5 years old and has never looked back.
“She’s close friends with Caitlin Burke (former four-time state champ from Cedarburg),” Dr. Coran said. “In fact, they’re like sisters, they text and call all the time and she’s traveled all over the country playing against top competition. She’s made friends all over the country too. In fact, one girl Aly beat when she was 10 just played at the US Open Junior Tournament this summer.
“This sport will keep you humble and she’s bright enough to know that she needs to stay humble. The sport is a wonderful experience, but no matter how good you are, there are always people ready to make mincemeat of you.”
One of a kind
It was Coran who made mincemeat of the state competition and became Homestead’s first-ever singles champion in either boys or girls competition.
“I guess it still hasn’t sunk in yet,” Aly Coran said. “I’m still thinking about it. I was the top seed and I tried not to think about that too much. I was just focusing on doing my best. I’ve been in national tournaments before though so I just told myself over and over to be calm, just deal with it.
“It was only right after the last point (against Waukesha South’s Katy Allen) that I finally let myself get excited and then all my coaches could give me big hugs.”
And it was at that moment that Dr. Coran could relax, too.
“This is so gratifying,” she said, “partly because of what I went through but more so because it made her so happy. I would just think about us driving somewhere to another tournament and she would be missing something she really wanted to do, but now this. This has made up for it all. Just a magical moment.”
A year of firsts
It was also a great moment for veteran Homestead coach Jackie Egelhoff. She has coached for 28 years and picked up a doubles crown with Lindsey and Stacy Brock in 1999 but never was able to get someone close to the singles title until now.
“She has such a strong mental make-up for a freshman,” Egelhoff said. “Everyone wants to beat her and yet she doesn’t let them. It’s a total credit to her and none for me. I’m just thrilled for her and for the school.”
And all three would be even more thrilled if the Highlanders could obtain another first this weekend and win the WIAA state team crown. Dr. Coran, a 1981 Nicolet graduate, was part of three state team champions and knows how important this would be to Aly.
“This last weekend took some of the pressure off,” Dr. Coran said. “It was tough being the number one seed, so she should be a little more relaxed. She knows the team still has a job to do, that they have to bear down and focus in order to reach their goal.”
Coincidentally, Homestead doubles player Rebecca Wiener is the daughter of Dr. Coran’s old teammate Nancy Zetley, the 1978 state singles and 1977 doubles champion.
Aly Coran thinks the unbeaten and top-ranked Highlanders are ready.
“It’s been a great season,” she said. ”We’ve been through a lot already and I just love being part of this team. We can’t stop talking about next weekend and how excited we’ll be to be back there.”
Steven L. Tietz can be reached at (262) 446-6619.
CORAN: Homestead freshman Aly Coran (36-0) defeated Waukesha South’s Katy Allen (35-1) 6-4, 6-1, in the finals of the WIAA Individual State Tennis Tournament on Oct. 18 in Madison. … Coran did not drop a set in beating players from Arrowhead, Oshkosh West, Green Bay Southwest and Madison West in preliminary matches.
OTHER HOMESTEAD RESULTS: The second doubles team of Brittany Watchmaker and Jennifer Smith (27-1) fell to DSHA’s Lauren Gryniewicz and Scarlett Hoy (24-3), 5-7, 7-6 (4), 6-3, in the finals. … The Homestead pair had upset top-seeded Emily MacKay and Haley Davidson (26-5) of Whitefish Bay in the semifinals. … Aubree Schulz and Rebecca Wiener (27-4) lost to Gryniewicz and Hoy 6-3, 7-5, in the semifinals before beating Davidson and MacKay for third, 6-2, 6-2. … All Homestead entries won at least one match including singles players Dani Merar, Carly Peck and Corey Mattson and the doubles team of Kristin
Swenson and Sarah Berman.
WHAT: WIAA State Team Tennis Tournament
WHEN: Quarterfinals – 5:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 24; semifinals – 9 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 25; finals – 2 p.m. Saturday
WHERE: Nielsen Tennis Stadium in Madison
Madison West (11-10) vs. Madison East (11-8); Fond du Lac (18-2) vs
Homestead (7-0); Sheboygan North (12-4) vs. Brookfield Central (24-2); and Marshfield (18-1) vs. Greendale (8-1)
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