WINNETKA — New Trier junior Julia Siebert admitted she was nervous playing in her first badminton sectional tournament Thursday.
Siebert, the field's top seed at New Trier, lost her first game of the day, but she shook it off to advance to the state tournament, which is May 16-17 at Eastern Illinois University. The four top players in singles and four top teams in doubles earned trips to Charleston.
"I definitely was tight and stiff," said Siebert, who rallied to beat Glenbrook South's Ashley Clark 10-21, 21-14, 21-17 in the second round. "I definitely felt some pressure. I just needed to calm myself down."
After losing the opener, Siebert won four games in a row before falling to Maine West's Jochellee DeLeon, the No. 2 seed, 21-16, 22-20 in the final. Siebert beat DeLeon in three games earlier this season.
"She's fast, and she plays fast," said Siebert, a JV player last season. "It's a difficult style to play against."
Maine West also beat New Trier for the doubles championship. Rachel Andersen and Olenka Kalinowski defeated Cece Bishop and Tristan Peters 21-16, 15-21, 21-14. Peters is the only player on the Trevians with state experience.
Like Siebert and Bishop, New Trier's Madelaine Murray will make her first appearance at the state tournament. Murray lost to DeLeon 12-21, 21-17, 21-14 in the second round, but she made a run through the consolation bracket to take third place.
Two Maine South doubles team advanced to the final weekend of the season. The team of Bonnie Schultz and Maddy Gaertner and the team of Maggie Schmit and Brittany Lung both qualified through the back draw. Schultz and Gaertner beat their teammates for third place.
"This just feels really good," Gaertner said of qualifying for the state tournament.