The fifth-ranked Whitefish bay girls tennis team threw a serious scare in its second-ranked rival and neighbor Nicolet in the WIAA sectional on Oct. 5 in Greenfield.
The 49-41 margin of victory that advanced Nicolet to team state for the sixth straight year was actually much closer than it looked and depended on a couple of matches here and there.
But Blue Duke coach Emily MacKay, whose team still advanced two singles players and two doubles teams to this weekend's WIAA state individual tournament in Madison, was seeing the glass half full.
"I was very pleased with our girls’ performance at sectionals," MacKay said. "We made a strong showing. It was great to see our one and two doubles make it into the finals against Nicolet, and also we were happy to have our three doubles team get a win against Nicolet in the finals. Another highlight was our four singles, Elena Deslongchamps, a freshman who came out on top in the finals against an opponent she has lost to twice earlier in the season.
"We are all excited for the opportunity to play at state this weekend."
The Blue Dukes will advance singles players freshman Mia Hessel (11-18) and senior Karlotta Galten (18-14) and the doubles teams of Dani Lester and Ali Menard (25-6) and Jenna Marget and Kendall Martens (18-14). Marget and Martens earned the 15th seed in the doubles bracket.
First-round play will begin Thursday, Oct. 13, as Hessel will take on Maycee Maslonka of Janesville Craig (9-9), and Galten, who earned a special qualifier berth, will challenge Sarah Benoy (26-7) of Stoughton. Galten and Hessel could meet in a second-round match.
Marget and Martens (18-14) will take on Katie Challoner and Brooke Steno from Pulaski (20-7), and Lester and Menard will challenge Kayla Stolz and Tori Lara from Oak Creek (29-6). Lester and Menard also earned a special qualifier berth.
Play will continue through the weekend until the finals on Saturday, Oct. 15.
At the sectional, Hessel won her quarterfinal match and eventually took fourth at first singles to earn her spot. Marget and Martens won two matches at first doubles before losing in the finals to a pair from Nicolet.
Bay won two flight titles, neither of which received a state berth from the seeding committee. Freshman Deslongchamps (18-5) won two matches at fourth singles, including a finals win over a Nicolet opponent, to earn her crown, while the third doubles team of junior Gracie Riedl and senior Nicole Steinmetz (22-2) finished their excellent season with a win over a Nicolet duo in the final.
Galten was third at second singles, as was junior Abby Longo at third singles (12-8). Lester and Menard were second at second doubles, falling to a Nicolet pair in the final.