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The Ottawa girls tennis team defended its home courts on Friday.
In the first day of the two-day Ottawa Sectional, the Lady Pirates advanced an area-best two doubles teams and a singles player to today’s semifinals, which earns automatic qualification for next weekend’s IHSA state tournament.
Action resumes at 9 this morning with a Monday afternoon rain date.
In all, seven area tennis players advanced to state, led by the Lady Pirates.
Ottawa advanced Erica Tabor in singles, while the doubles teams of Kayla Guenther and Molly Angell as well as Mariah Cavanaugh and Bailey Bradish qualified.
Also advancing to the semifinals in singles and qualifying for state is Mendota’s Michaela DeLong and Princeton’s Jen O’Neil.
Despite the final two rounds still awaiting completion, the Lady Pirates have already captured the sectional title regardless of the final results.
It’s the third straight sectional title for Ottawa and the sixth since 2006.
“We’re pretty happy,” Ottawa coach Steve Johnson said. “I think overall our sectional was very competitive and I didn’t know what to expect, so I was real pleased with our day.”
After receiving a bye in the first round, Tabor earned her trip to state after a pair of straight-set wins. She’ll play DeLong in the semifinals.
The doubles team of Guenther and Angell won their two matches in straight sets and will face a team from Coal City in the semifinals.
After a straight-set win to open the tournament, Cavanaugh and Bradish earned a hard-fought 5-7, 7-5, 6-4 victory over Princeton’s No. 1 doubles team. The pair will meet Morris’s Monica Davy and Leah Lines in the semifinals.
DeLong had little trouble advancing. After a 6-0, 6-0 win in her first match, the Lady Trojan senior earned a repeat trip to state with a 6-1, 6-1 victory in the quarterfinals.
O’Neil also cruised as the Tigresses’ No. 1 player earned a 6-0, 6-0 win in her opening match before taking her quarterfinal contest 6-0, 6-2.
Neither La Salle-Peru nor St. Bede were able to advance players to state and, other than Ottawa, no team qualified more than one entrant for state.
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