Jacobs sophomore Chloe Siegfort missed half of her freshman season while recovering from a broken leg, but still put together a strong finish.
Siegfort finished as singles runner-up at the Class 2A Cary-Grove Girls Tennis Sectional and went on to go 2-2 in the state tournament.
Healthy and unbeaten, Siegfort will make her bid for a sectional championship starting Friday, again at C-G. Nine of the 10 Fox Valley Conference teams will compete there, along with Grant. Burlington Central, the other FVC team, does not have a full team.
First-round matches start at noon. Saturday’s semifinal matches are scheduled for a 9 a.m. start.
The rest of the area schools will compete in the Class 1A Antioch Sectional, which starts at 1 p.m. Friday. The semis will start at 9 a.m. Saturday there as well.
“I’m looking at this tournament with a humble mind and having to think like I need to play to my ability and stay humble to myself and to other people,” Siegfort said. “I feel like this is my last time to shine for high school this season. It’s a really big thing for me to try to do my best I can do.”
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the IHSA limited its postseason series, so tennis players have only the sectional round with no state tournament. Singles players and doubles teams still want to finish in the top four to say they would have been state qualifiers.
Siegfort’s top competition all season has come in three matches against Huntley’s Ruhi Gulati, who finished third in the sectional last year.
“I think I’ll see her eventually,” Siegfort said. “Those matches (with her) went well. Ruhi’s a great player and played our last match really smart with the wind and the elements. She played a lot smarter than I did.”
Siegfort won that match, 6-3, 6-4, two days after beating Gulati in the FVC No. 1 singles championship.
“Chloe’s put together another great season,” Jacobs coach Jon Betts said. “Toward the second half, she’s been working on attacking more, playing in the front court more often, which is great to see. Without the weekend nonconference tournaments (because of the coronavirus), it’s been frustrating for her. We love getting to see new competition from around the state as much as possible.
“We expect running into Ruhi again this week. Hopefully we’ll continue to solve those problems she always poses. She’s a tough competitor.”
Some of the other top singles players in the sectional will be Jacobs’ Isha Desai, who qualified for state in doubles last season, along with Crystal Lake Central’s Ellie McGinnis and Crystal Lake South’s Lizzy Sudbrook. McGinnis beat Sudbrook in three sets in the FVC No. 1 singles third-place match.
In doubles, Jacobs’ Kaya Trumbo and Lara Santa Ines, Huntley’s Michelle Barnvos and Kylie Phommasack, C-G’s Kate Larry and Katie Jannusch and Central’s Haley Benard and Emma Grindstaff were the top four in the FVC Tournament. Trumbo and Santa Ines defeated Larry and Jannusch for the title; Barnvos and Phommasack took third.
“The season has gone pretty well,” Siegfort said. “I feel like I’ve improved a lot during the season. I’ve improved my strategy a lot and a lot of the other players have gotten a lot better. I’ve been trying to switch my game up a little bit. If the ball is short, I like to attack it rather than just put the ball back in the court. I feel like that would make a big step up in my game.”
At Antioch, Richmond-Burton sophomore Savannah Webb, who sometimes works out with Siegfort, will be looking for a sectional title. She won the Kishwaukee River Conference title last week, but does not play until the postseason because R-B does not have a team.
Webb is the No. 2 seed, behind defending champion Megan Heuser of Lakes. Heuser beat Webb, 6-0, 6-0,last year for the title. Webb went 4-2 in the Class 1A State Tournament.
Johnsburg’s Gracie Cittadino, who went to state in doubles, is the No. 3 singles seed and Woodstock North’s Sophia Ferru is No. 4.
North won the sectional title last year and grabbed its fourth consecutive KRC championship last Saturday.