A thrilling championship : Sports : Oswego Ledger-Sentinel : Hometown Newspaper for Oswego and Montgomery, Illinois
|A thrilling championship |
|Oswego badminton team edges Plainfield North by three points to win SPC title|
|by Christine Bolin|
It all boiled down to the final matches to see if the Oswego badminton team would be crowned champions of the Southwest Prairie Conference on Saturday.
Plainfield North lurked and loomed, but Oswego won the seven-team event at Plainfield South with 46 points. The Tigers trailed by three points, with 43.
"We are pretty thrilled," said Oswego head coach Scott Freischlag, whose team fell to Plainfield North, 8-7, earlier in the regular season in their only conference loss all year. "It all goes to the girls. They were ready. They really came through at the end."
The race for third was close too, but Plainfield East placed third with 19, Romeoville scored 16 and Plainfield Central tallied 14. Oswego East was sixth with nine points and Plainfield South scored two points.
"Obviously, we wish things went better," Oswego East head coach Marko Jurkovic said. "At times, we looked good."
Ten singles and five doubles played. Oswego earned 29 points in singles play and 17 in doubles. Oswego East scored six points in singles and three points in doubles.
Oswego had two first-place finishes in singles - No. 8 junior Marissa Gutkowski and No. 9 junior Alissa Cullen.
Gutkowski beat her opponent from Plainfield East, 21-16, 25-23, in the finals and Plainfield Central, 21-7, 21-9 in the semifinals.
Cullen beat senior Erin McDowell from Oswego East, 19-21, 21-13 with the third set a forfeit in the semifinals and her opponent from Plainfield Central, 21-19, 21-6 in the finals.
"(Cullen) stepped up," Freishlag said. "She came from the JV team and won the battle. It was awesome."
Oswego had seven second-place finishes in singles, including senior Christie Parkinson (No. 1), senior Emma Gorman (No. 2), junior AnnChristine Fay (No. 4), junior Michaela Wagner (No. 5), junior Leanne Schilling (No. 6), junior Vanessa Santiago (No. 7) and Kaitlin Tossing (No. 10).
"They all stepped up and played well," Freischlag said. "They worked hard and succeeded."
Oswego East's top finisher in singles was freshman Leena Hwang at No. 3. She ended up in second place after beating Oswego senior Jena Buss (21-12, 21-14) but lost to her opponent from Plainfield North, 21-13, 21-19.
"Getting second place was good for her because she's only a freshman," Jurkovic said. "It was a positive."
Also for Oswego East was No. 1 junior Layne Hillesland. She finished third after beating her opponent from Romeoville, 21-9, 21-8. Parkinson ended up beating her, 21-9, 21-16 to get to the finals.
"I figured she'd finish in the top three," Jurkovic said. "She battled it out with (Parkinson), but fell a little short."
In doubles, Oswego won first place three of the five matches. Parkinson and Wagner won at No. 3 after beating Plainfield North (21-14, 21-16) for the title.
"They were seeded first throughout the conference," Freischlag said. "They worked hard and just swept it, no question there."
Santiago and Schilling won at No. 4 after upsetting the No. 1 seed from Plainfield North in the semifinals (21-11, 21-19) and beating their opponents from Plainfield Central in the finals in three games.
"That was a great match right there," Freischlag said. "Vanessa and Leanne didn't even get seeded and they came through."
Cullen and Tossing won at No. 5 after the win against their opponents from Plainfield East (21-16, 21-19) in the semifinals and 21-16, 21-19 against their seeded opponents from Plainfield North in the finals (21-15, 21-15).
Fay and Gutkowksi at No. 2 doubles placed second after topping Plainfield East 21-12, 21-15 in the semifinals. They fell to Plainfield North, 21-18, 21-10 in the finals.
Hillesland and junior Tyler Keating at No. 1 doubles for Oswego East beat Oswego's duo of Buss and Gorman, 11-21, 21-14, 21-16 in the semifinals, but lost to Plainfield North, 21-17, 21-14, in the finals.
"(The semifinals against Oswego) was a battle in itself," Jurkovic said. "There's always that cross-town rival there."
Sectional play for both teams begins today, Thursday, at 4:30 p.m. Each team is allowed to have two singles players and two doubles teams participate.
Oswego is at the Wheaton Warrenville South Sectional with Metea Valley, Lockport, the host-Tigers, Plainfield Central and Romeoville.
Oswego East is at the Naperville North Sectional with the host-Huskies, DeKalb, Neuqua Valley and Plainfield North.
The state tournament starts Fri., May 12 and ends May 13 at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston.