Much as it has been expected all along, it will still be an interesting WIAA State Team Tennis Tournament semifinal between North Shore Conference rivals Homestead and Nicolet Saturday at 9 a.m. in the Nielsen Center in Madison.
"We're ready and excited," said Nicolet first singles player Jennifer Winston, who led the Knights to a 7-0 rout of Fort Atkinson in a quarterfinal match Friday night. "We're not going to hold anything back."
Neither will their opponents.
"I was pleased with the focus and the serious approach we took to things," said Coach Jackie Egelhoff of the defending state champion Homestead squad, after the Highlanders 6-1 dispatching of DSHA in their quarterfinal. "We got the job done and did it well. It was good to have a tough one right away like that, because it'll make sure we're ready to go for Saturday."
The pair have met several times already this season, with the unbeaten and top-ranked in state Highlanders winning every time. The other 9 a.m. semifinal features Oshkosh West and Madison West. The championship match is at 2 p.m.
The only hitch in Homestead's evening was a 7-6, 6-2 loss at first doubles suffered by the pair of Brittany Watchmaker and Corey Mattson to the Dashers state championship duo of Tara Robey and Sarah Woods.
Elsewhere, it was business as usual for Homestead as in singles, the quartet of state champion Aly Coran, Carly Peck, Sophia Lococo and Megan Geschke combined to lose just six games in four matches.
In doubles, the state runner-up second team of Kristin Swenson and Dani Merar (7-5, 6-1) and the third team of Allison Berman and Christy Kritner (6-3, 6-3) also eased their way to victory. Kritner battled her way through a bad case of leg cramps in the match.
Nicolet was even more impressive, as in singles, Winston, Becca Stern, Rachelle Brick and Emma Wathen combined to lose just seven games in four clashes despite the fact that the Fort Atkinson singles players went into state play more than a week ago with a combined record of 91-3.
In doubles, the Nicolet duos of Ariel Winter and Aurora Gundersen (6-4, 6-3); Erica Lurie and Rebecca Raj (2-1, default due to injury) and Sari Edelman and Erin Miller (6-0, 6-1), also cruised.
"It was a good day," said Knight coach Tim Koppa. "Now we have some work to do."
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