Girls Tennis: Lady Hubs make history at IHSA 1A Rochelle Sectional

Doubles teams lead RTHS to best finish since 2010

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ROCHELLE — The belief and will to win was what spurred the Lady Hub tennis team to a series of historic achievements during the final rounds of the IHSA 1A Rochelle Sectional on Saturday.

With one doubles team already clinching a top-4 finish, attention turned to Jordin Dickey and MeLisa Young, who needed a victory against Rockford Lutheran’s Olivia Stram and Adalia Yeung to earn their way into the semifinals. The Lady Hub juniors controlled the first set, but a tough second-set tiebreak extended the match into a third set. Digging deeper than they had all season, Dickey and Young turned the match around, outlasting Stram and Yeung 6-3, 6-7, 7-5.

The win advanced Dickey and Young into the semifinals, where they strung together another stunning upset against Sycamore’s Olivia King and Abby Golembiewski, the top-ranked doubles team in the tournament. After splitting the first two sets, both teams played to a 5-5 draw in the third set before an injury forced Sycamore’s team to retire, elevating Dickey and Young into the finals.

“Jordin and MeLisa had played both the Rockford Lutheran team and the Sycamore team earlier in the season,” head coach Lizzie Cartwright said. “They had fallen to both of those teams, but we knew they could have done some things different in both matches… I had a feeling that if they could tighten up a few of their shots and start each match strong, they could beat them both. I knew they could win and the girls knew they could win. The girls walked up to me before both matches and told me they could win and I absolutely believed in them.”

Dickey and Young finished second in the doubles tournament, falling 5-7, 1-6 against Sycamore’s Emma Hardin and Abby Bourdage in the finals Saturday afternoon. On the other side of the bracket, senior Sawyer McGee and junior Sylvia Hasz placed third in the doubles tournament, falling 3-6, 1-6 to Hardin and Bourdage in the semifinals before earning a default victory over Golembiewski and King in the third-place match. It was the first time in Rochelle Township High School history that two doubles teams earned top-4 sectional medals.

“I was ecstatic for the girls,” Cartwright said. “I was elated for them because they haven’t played tennis for very long and Sylvia came out this year for the first time. Their success speaks to their athleticism and how coachable they are. They work really hard and they are driven to win. I’m so happy for them and I’m so proud of the hard work and dedication they showed.”

Behind both doubles teams, Rochelle scored 15 points and finished third out of 11 schools in the sectional tournament. Dickey and Young became Rochelle’s highest-placing doubles combo since 2009, and it was the program’s best performance at a sectional since 2010. Under normal circumstances, both Lady Hub doubles teams would have competed in the IHSA State Championships, but there will not be a state tournament this fall due to COVID-19.

“When the girls come out and practice hard, that’s when our coaches and I can really work with them and give them pointers on how to improve their game,” Cartwright said. “I really expect and hope the girls come out as much as possible during open courts over the summer.”