Fans who were not deterred by the chilly morning temperatures Oct. 8 watched an epic battle for the DuKane Conference’s No. 1 singles title.
Batavia players advanced to five of the seven championship matches but were unable to secure an individual championship. The Bulldogs still won the conference title for the fourth year in a row.
“We did not win a title. We won [the conference] because we had a fairly comfortable lead going in,” Batavia coach Brad Nelson said. “We had chances today to win a couple that we let slip away. Thankfully it’s a marathon because every match counts throughout the whole season. We had played well in our dual meets and accumulated a lot of points.”
The conference champion is based on results from both league dual meets and the conference tournament.
Ittersagen got off to a great start in the first set, jumping out 3-0 before Daggubati, the defending conference No. 1 singles champion, battled back to tie the set 6-6 and then won the tiebreaker.
“I tried to start off strong, just rally after rally, long points. Every point was a good point,” Ittersagen said. “She just kind of got ahead and it was just a battle all the way through.”
In the second set, the roles were reversed with the Batavia senior jumping out to the lead only to lose the set in a tiebreaker.
“[The second set] was the exact opposite. I kind of got down after that first set. I was down 4-1 and I thought to myself I’ve just got to turn this around,” Ittersagen said. “I started winning games and I thought to myself I can do this.”
The match was the fifth time the two competed against each other. Daggubati had won all of the previous contests in straight sets.
“Brooke is a fighter and knowing that she has never beat that Batavia girl, I felt like she battled back in that second set,” Wheaton Warrenville South coach Patti Clousing said. “It’s tough to lose the first set when you’re winning 5-2. She battled back to win that second set. I just thought if she could get a set off this girl it is going to be a little bit of momentum in our favor.”
“In the tiebreaker, I got up early. My mentality was just get it back, one more ball,” Ittersagen said. “Her forehand was definitely her stronger shot. She got her backhand in, but it wasn’t a weapon, so I tried to aim for her backhand.”
“That was an amazing match. [Ittersagen] is a heckuva player. She gets to every ball,” Nelson said. “There were times when we thought we had points won and she would find a way to get the ball back.”
Nelson was pleased with his team’s effort.
“I’m just proud of this group. We lost five of our top six players last year and a lot of people didn’t consider us as even a threat before the season,” he said. “But we found ways to get things done.”
Wheaton Warrenville South, which finished second in the conference, took two other top honors and just missed a fourth first-place finish.
“If this tournament stood on its own, we would actually have won,” Clousing said. “We lost the conference by one point and that’s a heck of a comeback for us.”
The Tigers’ Jojo Hughes edged St. Charles East’s Sofia Radovic, 6-2, 2-6, 13-11 for the No. 2 singles title.
The Tigers’ Katie Muff and Janna Kim took home the No. 2 doubles first-place medals by downing Hannah Schneider and Taylor Steinys of Batavia 6-3, 6-0.
Wheaton North’s No. 1 doubles team of Stella Tarusha and Kaylee Phillips edged the Tigers’ Kaley McCabe and Lauren Morton in three sets, 6-2, 2-6, 10-7.
“Our first doubles only lost by a tiebreaker to our crosstown rivals, but they also beat Batavia to get to the finals so that was a huge victory for them,” Clousing said. “Our second doubles team rolled through this tournament. Janak and Katie had a fantastic finish.”
Wheaton North, which finished third, also took top honors at No. 3 and No. 4 doubles.
Grace Ekstrand and Julia Russel needed three sets to put away Batavia’s Madalyn Vieu and Sydney Schmitz, 0-6, 6-1, 10-6 in the No. 3 doubles championship match.
Wheaton North’s Clara Delzell and Prwsha Hama Rasheed earned No. 4 doubles honors with a straight-set 7-5, 6-4 win over Addison LaManna and Addi Lowe from Batavia.
Lake Park sophomore Jessica Dudas won the No. 3 singles title with a 6-3, 6-2 win over Batavia’s Allison Lukas.
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