CARY – Huntley’s players were enjoying lunch at Panera in Algonquin, thinking they were done at the Class 2A Cary-Grove Girls Tennis Sectional when they received Red Raiders coach Barry Wells’ text.
The tournament, suspended after some rain, was back on. With only the semifinals and finals remaining, and the courts now dry, the four coaches agreed they would come back.
“We all rushed back here from Algonquin. It was crazy,” Huntley senior Michelle Barnvos said. “I wouldn’t have it any other way. I loved how chaotic it was. We were all relaxed, then our coach texted to come back. It really added to the day and I’ll never forget it.”
A couple hours later, Barnvos and her No. 1 doubles partner Kylie Phommasack really had something they will never forget, a sectional championship.
Barnvos and Phommasack defeated Jacobs’ Kaya Trumbo and Lara Santa Ines, 6-4, 3-6, 6-2, for the doubles championship.
Jacobs’ Chloe Siegfort defeated Huntley’s Ruhi Gulati, 6-1, 6-0, for the singles title. Jacobs’ Isha Desai beat Huntley’s Elaina Hibbeler, 6-2, 6-4, for third place.
In the third-place doubles match, C-G’s Kate Larry and Katie Jannusch defeated Crystal Lake Central’s Haley Benard and Emma Grindstaff, 6-2, 6-1.
Jacobs finished with 29 team points for its first sectional title since 2013. Huntley (26) was second and Central (16) was third.
Barnvos and Phommasack split their two matches with Trumbo and Santa Ines this season, so they expected another tough battle.
“We were so happy and wanted to be out here today,” Phommasack said. “Plus, it’s (Barnvos’) last match, so we were like, ‘We’re going to have fun. We don’t care what happens.’ ”
Trumbo and Santa Ines won the second set and grabbed a 2-0 lead in the third before the Raiders’ duo rallied back.
“It was a great match,” Wells said. “They had a game point to go up, 3-0, and we dug down and fought hard and started to be more aggressive. That was the difference. We kind of took over at the net and (Barnvos) was hitting big forehands. The third set almost got away from us, but we had to dig in and start playing our game and take over at the net.”
There is no state tournament this season because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but those playing in the semifinals took consolation in knowing that, in a normal year, they would have qualified for state.
Siegfort was playing Gulati for the fourth time and the last two were much closer. She liked the way she closed out her sophomore season.
“I kind of changed up my game plan from the last couple times I played her,” Siegfort said. “I just played smarter and my focus was higher this match than in the other matches. I was determined to show what I was made of.”
C-G’s Larry and Jannusch were excited to finish their season with a victory.
“It was a really fun year,” Jannusch said. “I’m really going to miss playing with Kate. I’m sad she’s a senior and has to leave. We’ve been best friends for a really long time, so that makes us better because we communicate well.”
Class 2A Cary-Grove Sectional Results
Championship: Chloe Siegfort (Jacobs) d. Ruhi Gulati (Huntley) 6-1, 6-0.
Third place: Isha Desai (Jacobs) d. Elaina Hibbleler (Huntley) 6-2, 6-4.
Championship: Michelle Barnvos/Kylie Phommasack (Huntley) d. Kaya Trumbo/Lara Santa Ines (Jacobs) 6-4, 3-6 6-2.
Third place: Kate Larry/Katie Jannusch (Cary-Grove) d. Haley Benard/Emma Grindstaff (Crystal Lake Central) 6-2, 6-1.
Team scores: 1. Jacobs 29, 2. Huntley 26, 3. Crystal Lake Central 16, 4. Grant 10, 5. Crystal Lake South 8, 6. Cary-Grove 7, 7 (tie). Dundee-Crown, Prairie Ridge, McHenry 4, 10. Hampshire 2.