Girls Tennis: Rochelle places second in Lady Hub Invitational

The Rochelle Lady Hub varsity tennis team took second in the Lady Hub Invitational on Saturday. Above from left to right are award winners Annaleigh McKinney, Allie Dickey, Elin Zheng, Erin Murphy and Kitty Williams. (Courtesy photo)

Zheng wins No. 1 singles title as Murphy-Williams duo claims No. 3 doubles crown

ROCHELLE — The Rochelle Lady Hub varsity tennis team saw several players shine during the Lady Hub Invitational at Rochelle Township High School on Saturday. Juniors Erin Murphy and Kitty Williams won the No. 3 doubles crown, while senior Elin Zheng brought home the No. 1 singles title during Saturday’s tournament. Rochelle finished second out of five schools.

"We really put our best foot forward," head coach John Michael Loggins said. "We had some really close battles and we had a few games that went to deuce, which really turned the tables. I thought we came out and did the best we could. We played with great energy and seeing Elin win was big for us."

Zheng took the No. 1 singles championship with a 4-0 record. The senior defeated Kaneland’s Ansley Faivre 7-2 before downing DeKalb’s Krystal Baggett 7-2. Zheng received a third-round bye before returning to the court and securing an 8-1 win over Freeport’s Audra Luecke. Zheng clinched the singles championship with a 7-2 victory over Sterling Newman’s Emmy Burger.

"Elin has the attitude that you'd hope to see from a No. 1 singles player," Loggins said. "She's very stoic and it's tough for opponents to read her. I think that's a strength of hers and I think her forehand has also become a big weapon. She's really finding her rhythm and I'm hoping she can win a few more matches before sectionals so she can earn a top-6 ranking there."

Williams and Murphy went 4-0 to take the No. 3 doubles championship. The duo received a first-round bye before defeating Sterling Newman’s Grace Tobias and Kaitlyn Conderman 5-4. Rochelle’s combo followed with 7-2 victories over DeKalb’s Berenice Carmona and Bryana Calderon as well as Freeport’s Chyanna Gadson and Margret Stuebinger. Williams and Murphy sealed the doubles title with a 7-2 win against Kaneland’s Nola Noring and Keara Richardson.

"Kitty and Erin's ability to talk to each other and stay positive were huge," Loggins said. "They both knew their roles. Erin did her best to put the ball away at the net and with Kitty's experience, she talked with Erin and gave her great guidance. They worked really well together."

Seniors Allie Dickey and Annaleigh McKinney took second in the No. 2 doubles division with a 3-1 record. The Rochelle duo shut out Freeport’s Ryleigh Bach and Ashlyn Erickson 9-0 before taking a second-round bye and falling 3-6 against Kaneland’s Elena Gooch and Lauren Babka. Dickey and McKinney finished strong, defeating Sterling Newman’s Laurel Chavera and Maddy Taylor-Steffens 7-2 and winning 6-3 over DeKalb netters Addelyn Foster and Emma Kraft.

Sophomore Teagan Auld finished third in the No. 2 singles division with a 2-2 record. Auld opened the tournament with a 4-5 loss against Sterling Newman’s Ximena Hernandez and a 1-8 defeat against Kaneland’s Kaci Randall. Auld bounced back and secured her third-place outing with 6-3 wins over DeKalb’s Nina Christopherson as well as Freeport’s Janyah Palmer.

Junior Riley Doyle and senior Macenzie Glosser placed fifth in the No. 1 doubles division with a 0-4 record. The Rochelle combo fought hard during 4-5 losses against DeKalb’s Preeti Islam and Alissa Kocjan as well as Freeport’s Cailtyn Simpson and Arazara Lassandro. Doyle and Glosser bowed out of the tournament with 3-6 losses against Sterling Newman netters Julia Rhodes and Emily Beattie as well as Kaneland netters Lauren Andrews and Abby Grams.