Lincoln-Way Central’s Jana Mudrock and Sandburg’s Ashley Godawski are good friends off the court.
But on the court, that’s a different story.
The two are all business.
And Thursday with the Lincoln-Way Central Sectional singles title on the line, it all came down to one thing for Mudrock.
“I would have to say conditioning,” Mudrock said. “Being able to go after all those shots with the long rallies, especially in that third game, that’s what it came down to for me.”
Mudrock prevailed in the end, the senior defeating Godawski 21-18, 16-21, 21-18 to claim the singles title.
Host Lincoln-Way Central won the team title as well, the Knights piling up 15 points to Sandburg’s nine points.
Four singles players and four doubles teams qualified out of the sectional for next week’s state meet at Eastern Illinois.
“After the match, we’re all hugs and smiles again,” Mudrock said. “When we play, Ashley is like any other opponent.”
For Godawski, the loss was tough, but qualifying for state was quite the consolation prize. Last season as a junior, Godawski lost at sectionals one match away from qualifying for state.
“I can’t lie, it’s the best feeling,” Godawski said with a smile. “I lost, but it was a great game. That’s the perfect game we both needed going into state so that we can just go from there, skyrocket from here.”
On the doubles side, Margaret Kolyvas and Maria Brown completed quite the season turnaround. Both singles players in previous years, they became a force quickly for the Knights.
Kolyvas and Brown won the doubles title, defeating Oswego’s Anne Fish and Alisa Meurer 21-13, 21-17.
“We didn’t expect to, but we started off really well (this season),” Brown said. “We miss singles every now and then, but we know this is what the team needs. We’re going to make the best out of it.”
What’s been the key? No pouting, just committing to the doubles side.
“It’s been us working as a team because we hadn’t played together much before this season,” Kolyvas said. “We’ve had to come together and say ‘Here’s the deal. Let’s make the most of it.’ We work hard to be the best we can be.”
Also advancing to state were both Sandburg’s Cassie Sheehan and Lincoln-Way Central’s Claire Hilgenbrink, Sheehan defeating Hilgenbrink 21-14, 21-18.
On the doubles side, Oswego’s Sydney Blount and Olivia Lewis beat Lincoln-Way East’s Sara Piotrowski and Sara Teichman 21-18, 21-16, both doubles teams advancing to state.