Tennis

High school girls tennis: Richmond-Burton's Webb closes in on rematch with defending Class 1A champ

Richmond-Burton’s Savannah Webb competes against Wauconda’s Mary Eisenhardt on Friday during the Class 1A Antioch Sectional.
Richmond-Burton’s Savannah Webb competes against Wauconda’s Mary Eisenhardt on Friday during the Class 1A Antioch Sectional.

LAKE VILLA – Soccer involved too much constant running.

Gymnastics was fun, but the flips made young Savannah Webb a little dizzy.

What the Richmond-Burton sophomore discovered early on, however, was a love for having a tennis racket in her hands.

Webb began tennis lessons when she was 8 and was playing tournaments at age 10. Her high school season is short since the Rockets do not have a team, but she won the Kishwaukee River Conference Tournament No. 1 singles title last Saturday and won her first two matches at the Class 1A Antioch Girls Tennis Sectional on Friday.

Webb will face Woodstock North’s Sophia Ferru in the semifinals at 9 a.m. Saturday. The winner likely will face Lakes’ Megan Heuser, last year’s 1A state champion who is headed to Illinois on an athletic scholarship.

“(High school) is fun,” Webb said. “It’s sad I don’t have a team. Everybody else is always having fun with their team and I’m just like there (at sectionals). It’s pretty competitive. It’s like a real tournament.”

Webb trains at instructor John Reed at Lake Geneva Tennis and most of her competition is in USTA events around Illinois and the Midwest.

“When they’re young, you try to do a bunch of sports and this is the one that stuck,” said Nancy Webb, Savannah’s mother. “We tried soccer. We tried basketball, that stuck a little bit. Tennis is what she really loved, so we focused on that.

“There’s a little bit of talent involved and she just loves it so much. When you love something passionately, it’s fun for you. It’s not a chore.”

Webb lost to Heuser, 6-0, 6-0 last, year, then went on to go 4-2 at the state tournament. There will not be a state tournament this season because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The IHSA limited its fall postseason because of the coronavirus.

Webb is friends with Jacobs sophomore Chloe Siegfort, who will play in the semifinals of the Class 2A Cary-Grove Sectional on Saturday. They sometimes hit together.

If Webb beats Ferru, she could see Heuser again.

“It will be fun,” she said. “I probably won’t win. Hopefully I can get a game off of her this year. I hope it will be competitive. It will be nice.”

Ferru held off Grayslake Central’s Mia Falconi, 6-4, 6-4, in their quarterfinal to advance to the semifinals.

“We had a really long rally, it was a good match,” Ferru said. “My only goal for high school was to make it to state. I didn’t care about winning, I wanted at least to make it. At least I did that, even though we aren’t going. I have one more day to enjoy it. I’m happy I made it, it’s a good way to end the season.”

Johnsburg’s Gracie Cittadino, who went to state in doubles last season, was playing Woodstock North’s Anika Treadway in a late quarterfinal match under the lights.

Marengo’s Noelle Haas and Ashtyn Martin also were in a late three-set quarterfinal match against Grayslake Central’s Mackena Luger and Sravya Yellapragada.

North’s Kaitlyn Mauck and Maggie Thomas also were in a late match against Grayslake Central’s Grace Caldwell and Aviva Krill.

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