East Troy High School varsity tennis players Erin Rice (from left), Belle Verbeten, Mackenzie Lindow, Syd Raddeman and Allison Slusar show off their Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association Division 2 sectional medals and the team’s second-place plaque after the Oct. 3 meet in East Troy.

East Troy sends five netters to state tournament

By Dan Truttschel

Correspondent

From the start of the season back in August, getting as many entries into this weekend’s Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association Division 2 State Tournament has been the focus for the East Troy girls tennis team.

And for five of those girls, the dream lives on.

East Troy’s Sydney Raddeman at No. 2 singles, the No. 1 doubles team of Mackenzie Lindow and Erin Rice and the No. 2 team of Belle Verbeten and Allison Slusar all punched their state tickets at last week’s East Troy Sectional.

East Troy finished second in the sectional team standings with 35 points, behind only Catholic Memorial’s 45. St. Joseph was third with 26, followed by Racine Prairie with 23 and Jefferson with 22.

“I’m very proud of our kids, who all year have rose to the occasion and competed to the very end,” East Troy coach Dave Lindow said. “It was an awesome day, especially watching our girls hold up that sectional plaque.

“That plaque represents ‘team,’ and that has been the focus all year. They finished a perfect 25-0 and will go down as the best team in school history.”

State action begins Thursday at the Nielsen Tennis Stadium and leads to the championship round Saturday afternoon.

Lindow and Rice are seeking their third state tournament medal after a fourth-place finish in 2016 and a sixth-place effort last year.

At the sectional, Lindow-Rice (30-1) advanced to Madison with a 6-4, 6-2 win over the St. Francis duo of LeAnna Blanchard and Lauren Johnson.

In the sectional final, the East Troy duo fell, 5-7, 0-6, to the St. Joseph team of Gianna Apostoli and Megan Setter.

Lindow-Rice are seeking to become the first doubles team in state tournament history to earn medals three straight years.

“These two have already left their mark on this program’ and they are looking to top it off with a great showing at state,” Lindow said. “We are approaching it like every match we have had in the past. Play one point, try to win it, move to the next point.”

Lindow-Rice received the No. 2 seed at state and earned a first-round bye. They open play in Madison Friday at 12:30 p.m. against the winner of Catholic Memorial’s Alex Sturm and Mia Rossi (18-6) and the Brookfield Academy team of Anna Deubel and Katherine Hearden (8-10).

St. Joseph enters as the top seed. Setter was half of the state championship team last year with graduated senior Kaityln Kalinka.

Raddeman (30-1) earned her trip with a sectional title last week, as she defeated New Berlin West’s Olivia Vernon (7-5, 6-4) and Jefferson’s Anna Kallsen (2-6, 6-2, 6-3). She is East Troy’s first No. 2 singles player to win a sectional title.

“She played No. 4 singles last year, came on strong this summer and never looked back,” Lindow said. “She’s a complete warrior on the court with such a competitive mindset. I was really rooting for her and was so happy when she won the match to advance to state.”

In the first round at state, Raddeman faces Elwood’s Julia Hess (19-5) at 4:30 p.m. The winner advances to play top-seeded Olivia Czerwonka, St. Joseph, on Friday. Czerwonka finished second at last year’s state tournament.

No. 2 doubles advances

East Troy’s third state entry, the No. 2 doubles duo of Belle Verbeten and Allison Slusar (31-0) won both of their sectional matches last week to advance to Madison.

Verbeten-Slusar defeated the Racine Prairie team of Libby Antonneau and Brooke Foster (6-1, 6-1), followed by a 6-3, 7-5 win over Catholic Memorial’s Sturm-Rossi. East Troy overcame a 4-1 deficit in the second set to rally for the victory and become the program’s first-ever sectional champion at No. 2 doubles.

“They played like seniors do when your back is against the wall,” Lindow said. “They have battled all year, and I expect the same at the state tournament.”

The East Troy tandem will play the Watertown Luther Prep team of Alethia Schmidt and Abigail Schewe (5-2) Thursday night at 6 p.m. The winner faces Apostoli-Setter in the second round Friday.

Also competing at last week’s sectional were Mikayla Lamping at No. 3 singles and the No. 3 doubles team of Paige Metcalf and Emma Scurek.

Lamping (22-10) fell in the first round, 4-6, 0-6 to Catholic Memorial’s Courtney Sturm, but defeated McFarland’s Maiah O’Rourke, 7-5, 6-0 in the third-place match.

Metcalf-Scurek beat Martin Luther, 6-3, 1-6, 6-3, followed by a 1-6, 3-6 loss to Catholic Memorial to finish second.

Falling in the first round at the subsectional last Tuesday to close out their season were Jessica Tess at No. 1 singles, 3-6, 3-6 to Edgerton, and Izzy Galluzo at No. 4 singles, 0-6, 2-6 to Edgerton.

 
 

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