The only way the Nicolet Sweet 16 girls tennis tournament came off in balky late summer weather (like what occurred Saturday morning) was through patience, perseverance and the ability to "go along as you get along."
For example, consider the case of eventual meet champion Homestead, which was scheduled to have an early round match with Brookfield Central. The Lancers, which have already lost twice to the two-time state champion Highlanders, just conceded the dual.
"He (coach Dave Steinbach) knew that his team was going to lose to us, but he also knew how tight the schedule was becoming (because of the late Friday night, early Saturday morning rains)," said Highlanders coach Jackie Egelhoff. "He, like everyone else there, wanted to keep things moving along (because the schedule was falling behind).
The Highlanders were scheduled for an early morning semifinal against Nicolet but the courts were wet and the rain was still coming down.
"I had all kinds of people calling me asking me what they should do," said Knights coach and meet organizer Tim Koppa. "Some of them were expecting me to know exactly when it was going to stop raining (laughs)."
So Homestead hung out at its clubhouse for a time, eventually taking in part of a late morning JV football game. The semifinal with Nicolet didn't come off until 2:30 p.m.
"We were on the phone back and forth with Tim (Koppa) and when he told us they were ready, we high-tailed it down there (to Nicolet)," said Egelhoff.
Indoor contingency plan
As a contingency, Egelhoff had also secured the use of four indoor courts at the Mequon Elite Club. Since the Highlanders were somewhat "ahead" of the schedule on Saturday, they gave those courts to DSHA for the Dashers' quarterfinal match.
"There were a lot of phone conversations on Saturday," said Egelhoff.
As they have been doing to almost everyone, the Highlanders dispatched the Knights quickly, 7-0, in the semifinal, which led to more waiting around, as the other semi between DSHA and Bay turned into an intense, back-and-forth match that took more than three hours.
"I looked at my watch and when we were done, it was 6:50 p.m.," Blue Dukes coach Phil Kelbe said of the 4-3 loss. "It was very close and very disappointing (the Blue Dukes had lost earlier this season to the Dashers by a similar score). It came down to the last two flights and we couldn't quite pull it out."
Because of the lateness of the hour and the fatigue factor, there was no third-place match between Bay and Nicolet.
"Simply put, everyone was told not to make plans into the evening," Egelhoff said.
Tennis under the lights
That's because DSHA and Homestead had to move over to the lighted courts at Cahill in Bay to contest the final.
The Highlanders switched their doubles lineup around to counter the changes the Dashers made in theirs and it made for some interesting matches, as Dani and Mardee Merar moved up to one doubles from their regular two position and pulled out a 6-3, 4-6, 6-0 decision and at three doubles, Michelle Levin and Claire Songkakul fought off a challenge, 6-1, 1-6, 6-4.
But aside from Allison Berman's 6-1, 7-6 decision at four singles, those were the closest matches in the 7-0 decision, as Homestead won its fourth major tournament in as many tries and a long exhausting, two-day run came to an end.
"A few of the kids loved playing under the lights," said Egelhoff. "One even said 'It's like playing at the U.S. Open.' "
Everyone was pleased with the opportunity to play the high-level competition, if not with the scheduling.
Kelbe said he would have liked to have seen more contingency plans for inside play in light of the questionable weather.
"There just appeared to be too much sitting around, when the kids could have gone inside," he said. "… What would have helped is if everyone could have gotten in two matches on Friday (Some got one and some got two in and Homestead even played a tournament match on Wednesday against Oshkosh North to help beat the scheduling logjam).
"… But we also learned some things. You need to have different lineups ready for different teams. You can't get too predictable."
Koppa was pleased with everyone's patience. He understood that the weather and the length of the day resulted in some of the backdraw being simply abandoned and admired some of the teams for their tenacity, as Eau Claire Memorial, which faced a five-hour drive home, didn't get done until 7:30 p.m.
"I felt bad for the teams that had to travel," said Koppa, "and I told them that I was not going to get upset if they had to leave early under these circumstances. Everyone did pitch in and that's what did make it work."
Sweet 16 results
AREA TEAM HIGHLIGHTS
Homestead - Defeated Oshkosh North, 7-0 (only seven games lost); walkover against Brookfield Central; defeated Nicolet, 7-0; beat DSHA, 7-0.
Nicolet - Beat Kettle Moraine, 7-0; defeated Kenosha Tremper, 4-3; lost to Homestead, 7-0. Highlighted players Sari Edelman and Ariel Winter.
Bay - Swept Madison Memorial, 7-0; defeated Green Bay Southwest, 5-2; lost to DSHA, 4-3.
Highlighted players Natalie Harland and Lily Hayes.
University School - lost to Tremper, 4-3; defeated Kettle Moraine, 7-0; beat Madison Edgewood, 5-2. Finished ninth. Highlighted players include Nicolet Harris (3-0 in singles) and the doubles team of Emily Chrobak and Nicole Flanary (also 3-0).
Your link to the biggest stories in the suburbs delivered Thursday mornings.
Enter your e-mail address above and click "Sign Up Now!" to begin receiving your e-mail newsletter Get the Newsletter!
- Cooperation helped Whitefish Bay softball tourney work despite weather
- Veteran Shorewood netters claim Woodland dual meet crown
- Sports wraps: May 15
- Shorewood thinclads combine for eight firsts in Woodland Outdoor track
- NSC tennis race too close to call as tourney looms this weekend
- Fourth-ranked Bay kickers still looking for that perfect game
- Germantown softball team edges Bay, 1-0, to improve to 11-0 in NSC
- OUR TAKE
- Sports Shorts: May 7
- Everyone pulls together to make 'Sweet 16' tennis tournament work