By Scott Taylor
It was another strong sectional showing for the local contingent.
The Joliet Catholic doubles team of McCoy Hutchison and Maddie Bauer is headed to state for the third time as a doubles team after winning a sectional title for the second straight year Saturday at the Plainfield North Sectional.
“It’s really exciting to be going to state for the third time,” Hutchinson said. “It is a really good accomplishment I think.”
The junior duo have progressed each year and their chemistry is a big key to their success.
“We’ve been working really well together with our movement,” Bauer said. “We know each other’s strengths and weaknesses. We know what to say to each other and don’t get mad at each other.”
“We don’t get mad at each other and stay positive with one another,” Hutchison added.
After finishing in the top 16 of the back draw last year, they hope to do even better this year.
“We want to play really well,” Hutchison said. “We don’t want to have too high of expectations because everyone is really good. We’re hoping to do better than we have done. We have to stay consistent and put away our shots.”
“We want to get as far as we can at state and do our best,” Bauer said. “We want to play our match.
“I feel like we are playing the best we ever have. Our shot selection is great. Hopefully we can keep it up.”
The duo cruised to the title, not losing a set in the tournament.
Joliet sophomore Eileen Carney is headed back to state for her second time after repeating as sectional champion as well.
“It is very nerve-wracking because I want to do the same or better than last year, hopefully better,” Carney said. “Hopefully I play well. I’m pretty confident. My serve and forehand are pretty good. I just have to keep it together mentally.”
Making it to state as a freshman should pay dividends this year for Carney.
“I think it will put my mind at ease because I know what to expect,” Carney said. “I know the players, coaches and all the different schools that are there. My goal is to finish in the top 30. I know i have the shots, I just have to commit to the shots and execute.”
Carney knew the sectional matches would be tough with one of the best sectional semifinals in the state.
For the second straight year she faced Plainfield North sophomore Gabby Ochalik in the championship, 6-4, 7-6.
“My main goal was to win sectionals,” Carney said. “It was not easy. It could have been anyones’s day, it is just who was playing best.”
Joliet Catholic’s Nina Bertino is headed to state for the fourth time, the past three years in singles.
“Last year I got top 32 in the state tournament, so this year I’m going for top 16,” Bertino said. “I want to be seeded. My record was better last year, but hopefully my history will help me.”
She is comfortable with where her game is at right now.
“I like where my game is,” Bertino said. “I’ve gotten a lot more confident over the years. I used to play scared all the time and have definitely developed confidence. I rush the net more now, too.”
While she is a senior, she doesn’t feel the pressure. She is looking forward to making one strong final run at state.
“I have to keep my head on straight and play my game. I can’t let my emotions get to me. I have to play my heart out and play to win,” Bertino said. “I want to have a lot of fun and make it last.”
The competition at the sectional will only help her at state.
Bertino finished third in the sectional. After falling to Ochalik in the semifinals, she beat Jessica Chen of Neuqua Valley in the third place match.
“All of the girls who made it to the semis are good players,” Bertino said. “I like to compete with them and I enjoy playing with them. It is good to have two good matches before state. It is good practice for state and I’m going to practice really hard before state.”