ROCHELLE — The only way that Lady Hub tennis players Jordin Dickey and MeLisa Young could reach the third round of the IHSA 1A Rochelle Sectional on Friday was to defeat two doubles players from Freeport who bested them in match play earlier in the week.
Rochelle and Freeport faced each other on Tuesday, with Pretzel netters Amiah MIsek and Reese Coon topping Dickey and Young in two sets. The two doubles combos squared off once again Friday afternoon in the second round of the sectional tournament, but it was Misek and Coon who were on the defensive, as Dickey and Young claimed the first set to take the lead.
The Lady Hubs fell behind late in the second set, trailing 5-4 before a crucial break point tipped the scales briefly in Rochelle’s favor. The set ultimately went to a tiebreaker point, with Dickey and Young finishing strong to win the point and the match 6-4, 7-6(2).
“We really wanted to beat the Freeport girls because we lost to them on Tuesday,” Young said. “Our intentions were to go out and play our hardest and that’s what we did. We knew we had to hit the ball where they weren’t and keep our intensity up. It was a tough match, but it’s only going to get tougher so we have to come back and continue to do our best.”
Dickey and Young are one of two Lady Hub doubles pairs who are still alive in the sectional tournament. The two juniors opened their side of the bracket with a first-round victory over Newman Central Catholic’s Brynlee Hermeyer and Maddy Verdick (6-4, 6-3), overcoming a nearly two-hour-long rain delay late in the second set of their match.
“We worked together really well today and we were talking to each other a lot,” Dickey said. “We only made a few mistakes throughout the day. Our serves were really strong toward the end of the Freeport match and we were really hyped up to win. As long as we keep working together, I think we have a chance to come back and play really well.”
On the other side of the bracket, senior Sawyer McGee and junior Sylvia Hasz clinched a top-4 sectional finish after winning both of their doubles matches Friday afternoon. The Lady Hubs received a first-round bye before defeating Dixon’s Miriya Jones and Kyarra McGlown 6-2, 6-2.
“We knew we needed to step up today and stay focused,” Hasz said. “We need to come back with the same mindset we had today and be ready to go if we want to win.”
McGee and Hasz had no trouble in the third round, beating Belvidere’s Teresa Madera and Jasmin Camargo 6-2, 6-1 to earn a spot in the semifinal round Saturday morning. In the singles bracket, senior Anna Guevara fell 0-6, 0-6 against Freeport’s Jamie Rodriguez, while junior Emma Hicks was taken down by Sterling’s Madison Hubbs, losing 1-6, 1-6.
“We kept our energy up throughout the whole day, even during the rain delay,” McGee said. “The tennis team has been doing so well this year, and even though there have been times where we haven’t taken home the win, finishing in the top four is really awesome.”