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Four varsity tennis players medal at individual state tournament

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Two Homestead singles players and one doubles team medaled at the D1 WIAA Individual State Tennis Tournament. The tournament was held at the Nielsen Tennis Stadium from Thursday, Oct. 13 to Saturday, Oct. 15.

Initially, seven of Homestead’s varsity tennis players qualified for the individual state championship. After winning their sectionals, the number one doubles and singles teams automatically qualified for state.

The one doubles team consisting of Frankie LaLonde, junior, and Sasha Shapsis, freshman, received the one seed at the tournament due to their almost perfect 27-1 record going into the tournament. The two doubles team: Alyssa Boyer, junior, and Bridget Brown, freshman, also won their sectional and went into the tournament as the sixteenth seed.

In the singles lineup, three players qualified for individual state. One singles: Katya Mikhailenko, senior, received the third seed at state, and two singles player: Andie Weise, freshman, had the eleventh seed. Three singles player, Natalie Yang, freshman, also qualified for individual state through a special qualifier.

In the doubles bracket, both teams won their first two matches and moved on to the third round.

“I’m really proud of Alyssa and I for winning two rounds at state, one of which being against the one doubles team from Brookfield East. We have grown so much together and I am excited to fight hard and hopefully win team state,” Brown said.

However, due to their seeding, LaLonde and Shapsis had to play Brown and Boyer in the third round. After an emotional Homestead vs. Homestead match, LaLonde and Shapsis came out victorious, beating Brown and Boyer 6-1, 6-0.

“It was really unfortunate playing teammates that you’ve grown close to over the season. I, for one, couldn’t mentally compete with the fact that I am friends with the people I was playing. Although we lost, Sasha and Frankie deserved the win and I am truly happy for how well they have been playing,” Boyer said.

LaLonde and Shapsis won the next match, later having to face the tough opponent of Nicolet. Earlier in the season, the doubles team faced a tough loss against the Nicolet one doubles team consisting of Elise Gerard and Annabelle Crowley. Despite the one loss, LaLonde and Shapsis managed to beat the same team multiple other times. At state, the Nicolet vs. Homestead match was very close, ultimately leading to Gerard and Crowley beating Homestead 6-4, 2-6, 6-4.

“It was a tough loss in the semifinals, but it was still a lot of fun to be there and playing with LaLonde because we make a good team,” Shapsis said. “Overall, the whole experience of going to state was very new to me and I was super nervous from the moment I got there. But, once you start playing, you become more comfortable and you feel more confident.”

After the tough match, the Nicolet team moved on to the semifinals and LaLonde and Shapsis now had to face Eau Claire Memorial for third place. In a nail-biting match, Homestead came out victorious and beat Eau Claire Memorial 7-5, 6-4. Their win led the team to placing third in the state for D1 doubles.

“I think I can speak for both my partner, Shapsis, and myself by saying that we are incredibly humbled and proud of one another. We both worked very hard this entire season and are very happy that we got third place. We’re also looking forward to team state this weekend back in Madison,” LaLonde said.

In the singles bracket, Homestead’s one, two and three singles players qualified. Unfortunately, all three players were on the same side of the bracket; thus, they would eventually have to play each other.

Three singles, Yang, won her first match 7-5, 7-5 and moved onto the next round. Yang’s second match was against Amy Drame, Nicolet’s strong one singles player, who ended up beating Yang 6-0, 6-2.

“Getting to individual state as a freshman was a really cool experience,” Yang said. “I am so grateful that I was given the chance.”

Two singles, Weise, easily won her first three matches. Her fourth match however, was a face-off with one singles, Mikhailenko. Mikhailenko and Wiese have played together the whole season as teammates, yet were forced to play each other in the quarter-finals. Ultimately, Weise ended up beating Mikhailenko 7-6, 6-1.

“We were both on top of our game,” Weise said. “I think I played really well. Even if I lost a point, I would keep plugging away and hitting the ball the same as I did the last one.”

After her win in the quarter-finals, Weise had to play Isabelle Lee, the two seed from Bay Port. After a tough match, Lee defeated Weise 6-3, 6-1. Thus, Bay Port moved into the finals and Weise was now to play Emma Corwin, Brookfield East’s one singles. In a very close match, Corwin beat Weise 6-4, 7-5. With that, Weise placed fourth in the state.

Before playing Weise, Mikhailenko had a bye and won two matches. After winning her first match 6-0, 6-2, Mikhailenko went on to face Bay Port’s fourteen seed Gabrielle Lee. Despite a tough match, Mikhailenko came out victorious winning 7-6, 6-1. Her next match was against teammate Weise, which Weise ultimately won. With that, Mikhailenko then had to face DSHA four seed, Logan White, for fifth place. The match was very close and ended up going into a third set. At the end, White came out victorious in the third set tiebreaker, beating Mikhailenko 3-6, 6-4, 7-6. All in all, Mikhailenko ended up placing sixth at individual state.

“Individual state has played a big part for me during my time in high school. The nerves, excitement, happiness and sadness all compile together perfectly at the tournament. I will miss the experience greatly and plan to watch from the stands in the coming years,” Mikhailenko said.

submitted photo

Pictured from left to right: Andie Weise, freshman, Sasha Shapsis, freshman, Frankie LaLonde, junior, Katya Mikhailenko, senior. Four varsity tennis players medaled at state. The individual state tournament was held at the Nielsen Tennis Stadium. "Individual state was really fun this year... I am looking forward to be back in Madison for team state this weekend," LaLonde said.

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One Response to “Four varsity tennis players medal at individual state tournament”

  1. Butch Gebhardt on October 18th, 2016 11:17 am

    Great job by all. Go get it this weekend!!

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Four varsity tennis players medal at individual state tournament