Written by Anthony Nasella
Stagg qualified the most athletes for last week’s state tennis tournament, but it was District 230 sister school Sandburg that claimed the only first-round success.
The Lady Eagles’ doubles tandem of Priya Sharma-Allia Abunaim triumphed in their opening match last Friday, as they defeated Lincoln-Way East’s Stefanie Hunniford-Jacqui Michuda 6-4, 6-2. That was to be the extent of their success, though, as Lyons Township’s Jillian Kaehler-Maggie Schwartz (6-4, 6-2) and Deerfield’s Jessie Arenson-Ariel Lozovsky (6-0, 6-0) administered setbacks to Sharma-Abunaim in the second round of the championship and consolation brackets, respectively.
Sandburg’s other state entry, singles player Molly Traverso, fell in succession to St. Ignatius’ Carla O’Bryne (6-3, 6-2) and Oak Park-River Forest’s Jasmine Owens (6-3, 6-2).
Representing Stagg were singles players Nicole Pamphilis and Jillian Atkenson, and the doubles pair of Leeza Bodnar-Silvia Kulbokas.
After suffering an opening 6-2, 6-2 loss to Carmel’s Christina Rao, Pamphilis roared back to claim a pair of consolation victories. She beat Triad’s Kylie McCarthy (6-3, 7-6 (2)) and Hersey’s Ana Karpetiani (5-7, 6-3, 6-3) before running afoul of Geneseo’s Michelle Legatzke (6-1, 6-3) in the third consolation round.
Atkenson scored one consolation-bracket victory, 6-3, 6-2 over Immaculate Conception’s Kelley Hodyl, to salvage her appearance at state. Atkenson suffered defeats against Mount Carmel’s Tyra Buss (6-0, 6-0) and University High’s Dhanya Asokumar (6-1, 6-2) in her two other matches.
Bodnar-Kulbokas matched Pamphilis by succeeding twice after falling to a first-round loss. Following a 6-2, 6-2 shortcoming versus Edwardsville’s Morgan Colbert-Maddie Lombardi, Bodnar-Kulbokas rallied to take down Elgin’s Kayla Schwan-Emma May (6-0, 6-7 (3), 6-2) and East Peoria’s Kylie Giebelhausen-Sarah Kurth (6-3, 6-3) in consecutive encounters.
The Stagg duo’s stay at state ended in their fourth match, which went the way of Rockford Guilford’s Lilly Endsley-Linnea Endsley by a 6-0, 6-2 count.