Junior Varsity and Varsity Tennis: Conference Champions


Nora Mehring

The Benet Academy girl’s varsity tennis team show off their conference win.

On October 6 and 8, the Benet Academy varsity and junior varsity girls’ tennis teams played in the ESCC conference. The top eight players of both teams competed in their respective conferences where they reclaimed the conference champion titles. 

The 2022 Junior Varsity girl’s tennis team continued their undefeated streak of being conference champions. The tournament was hosted at Joliet Catholic, where eight players prepared to win. The first singles player, freshman Clare DiSanto, went the whole season without losing, continuing to succeed in the conference. Like DeSanto, every conference player won their matches. The second singles consisted of another freshman, Riyaa Jain, winning her match 6-0, 6-2. Also, first doubles players Erin Conway and Maggie Phelan won a close match of 6-3, 6-4. Another doubles team, Julia Keough and MaryClare McGuigan, at second doubles, won 6-1, 6-3. Finally, at third doubles, KristiAnne Villasenor and Claire O’Brien scored a win with the sets being 6-2 and 6-3. After the match, Phelan said, “I was nervous for conference, but also excited because our coach prepared us. It was a fun experience that I’ll remember forever.” Despite Phelan’s anxieties, Phelan managed to help take home the win. Junior Varsity coach, Brad Pihl, said, “It was a great season. We won the conference, which was the goal.” Overall, Coach Pihl shared his happiness with the team’s performance, having high hopes for the next season. Pihl went on to say that the team was primarily underclassmen, assuring him that the future was bright. 

Also, the varsity girl’s tennis team won their conference championships at Benet Academy. The varsity girl’s team was split across two sites, Joliet Catholic Academy and Joliet West, to compete for the conference title. Every singles player and doubles team for Benet got a first-round bye due to being the top seed from winning all conference matches in the regular season. First singles player Clare Lopatka and first doubles players Shane Delaney and Meredith Converse had no trouble defeating their opponents in the two matches played at Joliet West, beating them 6-2, 6-3, and 6-1, 6-2, respectively. The second doubles team, Adriana Enacopol and Katie Jendra had a close second match against Nazareth in the final round. The girls fought back hard and saved a total of six match points to come back from losing the first set and being down 2-5 in the second match and ultimately win the match in the third set with the final score of 2-6, 7-5, 6-1. Adriana looks back on the season and ahead to sectionals in the future as she said, “It’s been an amazing season thus far, having played with an awesome doubles partner. I’m looking forward to giving it my all at sectionals and seeing what the remainder of this season holds for the team.” Over at JCA, second singles player Natalie Grover demolished her competitors 6-0, 6-0 and doubles players Mimi Cline and Nora Mehring closed it out at third doubles with a final score of 6-1, 6-0. Overall, the varsity conference championship was a clean sweep in all flights at the varsity level. 

The junior varsity season has drawn to a close, but it is not over yet for the varsity team. First and second singles and first and second doubles prepared for sectionals on October 14 and 15, where Meredith Converse at first singles and the first doubles duo of Shane Delaney and Clare Lopatka qualified for state. These girls are looking forward to playing at state the following week, beginning on October 20, against larger competition than seen during the regular season. Overall, it was a successful season for both teams and for winning their respective conferences.