Barrett (above left) and Sowa (above right), both seniors, have worked well together. Sowa, also a basketball player, didn’t play high school tennis until last fall.
The three C-G athletes are the Trojans’ first girls tennis players to qualify for state since 2011.
“I just want them to play the best they can play,” Bender said. “Win or lose, you’ve got to come off the court and say, ‘Coach, I played the best I could play today.’ Play hard and have fun.”
In Class 1A, Woodstock North sophomore Aly Cullotta qualified for her second consecutive year. In 2016, she qualified in doubles with partner Faith Vela. This year, Cullotta qualified in singles with a fourth-place finish at the Antioch Sectional.
Also competing in the Class 1A state finals is Johnsburg doubles pair Abbie Cittadino and Kamile Aleksaite. For the Skyhawks, they are the first girls tennis state qualifiers since 2009.
Opening-round draws for local qualifiers
Bethany Marshall (Cary-Grove) vs. Ivvy Hicks (St. Ignatius College Prep)
Lindsay Cunningham (Jacobs) vs. Madeline Fidel (Wheaton North)
Allison Simons and Merritt Whiteside (Huntley) vs. Kate Bodensteiner and Julia Smiarowska (Fremd)
Alex Landman and Kayley Roche (Huntley) vs. Catherine O’Regan and Samantha Frishman (Glenbrook North)
Haley Steinkamp and Kylie Skepnek (Jacobs) vs. Tiffany Zhang and Kavya Rachapalli (Naperville North)
Elizabeth Barrett and Katie Sowa (Cary-Grove) vs. Shelby Thomas and Emiara Saini (St. Charles North)
Aly Cullotta (Woodstock North) vs. Olivia Hamm (Wheaton Academy)
Abbie Cittadino and Kamile Aleksaite (Johnsburg) vs. Lily Olthof and Haleigh Olthof (Illiana Christian)