Play was stalled on the first day (Saturday) after rain moved into the area. Play concluded Monday, with Dunlap taking 3 of the 4 championships and Morton repeating as #1 doubles champions (Mohr/Laktas).
Dunlap Freshman, Taylor Disharoon cruised to an easy, straight set victory (0,0) over Morton senior, Crystal Cobler in the #1 singles final.
Dunlap Senior, Deepti Sudhakar battled Metamora Senior Alison Lee in a back and forth match, with Sudhakar gutting out a 6-3, 3-6, 6-2 victory at #2 singles.
The #2 doubles final featured a rematch from earlier this season, with Dunlapâs Livy Sutton and Katie San Jose taking on Cushing/Kelly of Metamora. In the rematch, Dunlap saw their way through to a 6-4, 6-2 victory.
The #1 doubles bracket was backed up the furthest, due to a 3.5 hour first round match Saturday, between Mulvey/Dunn(Pekin) and Roozenboom/Naramore(W). The senior Dunlap duo of Stark/Narayanan easily dispatched the Washington team, 6-2, 6-1 to set up a rematch with Morton. In the final, the Morton duo of Laktas/Mohr jumped out to an early lead which they would never give up. Dunlap had a few bright spots and a few spurts to challenge the defending #1 doubles champions, but Morton was too much, cruising to a 6-1, 6-2 victory.
The team points chase saw Dunlap enter the weekend with a 2pt lead (6-0 conference record) over Metamora, Morton and Washington (all finished 4-2 in conference). By reaching the finals in all divisions, the Lady Eagles secured the outright team championship with a tournament total of 26 points (2 off of a perfect score) and 16.5 total points for the conference season. Morton finished second in the tournament, with 19 points to give them 13 for the conference season, barely edging out Metamora (18pts in tournament, 11.5 season points).
Prior to this weekend, the Lady Eagles had not won conference in 10 years (2007-08 under head coach, Mario Palmieri). The conference win also marked the first womenâs conference title for Dunlap coach, Pat Gornik. âItâs been a long time coming for these ladies. Theyâve really put in work this season and tried to embrace some coaching and strategy that wasnât there before. We came close to beating Morton last year, but lost by something like half a point â I blame that on myself and wasnât going to let that happen again,â said coach Pat Gornik. âIâm just so happy for the girls. They deserve everything they got this weekend and this season. We didnât talk much about a team championship or anything like that all season â we just focused on what we can do and what we can control to get better. Our #2 doubles team was REALLY in sync today and played some of their best tennis. Our two singles players had monster days and amazing tournaments overall. For Taylor to come out, as a freshman and play #1 is huge in and of itself, but for her to go undefeated in conference duals and then win the conference title, at the toughest position, in the way that she did â itâs unbelievable. Deepti (#2 singles) continued striking the ball very well â her warm up before match play was phenomenal. She got taken out of her preferred game for a bit, but she made the adjustment and showed just how versatile and great of a player that she is. Allison Lee is a tremendous competitor and I donât think she had a conference singles loss coming in to the match â sheâs a fighter for sure and makes you win every point.â
â#1 doubles ran into a buzzsaw today in the final. We had a bit of tough luck with that really long match on Saturday. Steph and Yashodha never got on court after our initial warm-up, so they essentially hadnât played since Thursday,â said Gornik. âThankfully we were able to come away with a win in the semis, but we knew heading in that if we werenât ready, Mohr & Laktas would absolutely pick us apart. Unfortunately we never really got our footing and I wasnât able to coach us out of it. Morton played some of the best tennis Iâve seen them play all year â they really saved their best for last in conference. Theyâll definitely give those teams in Blo-No a run for their money in sectionals.â Speaking on the loss, Gornik remarked, âIâd rather have us get our eyes opened a bit today, rather than on Friday. Weâve got a few days to put in some work and make some corrections. I look forward to getting our ladies right back into their games.â
âWe will take today, enjoy the championship, but tomorrow is back to business. We donât want this to be the end of our season. By all means, this is a tremendous accomplishment for our ladies, but now we need to refocus for the next step.â