By David Paulsen
All that Olivia Leuck and Ali Zeman had to do was win their first match at the Badger sectional. If they did that, they would be guaranteed a trip to the WIAA State Individual Tennis Championships in Madison.
Leuck and Zeman, the Burlington High School No. 1 doubles team, did just that, but it wasn’t easy. After a tight first set, the pair put away a doubles team of Katie McCarthy and Sarah Johnson from Fort Atkinson, 7-6 (11), 6-2.
“The first set was a bit of nail-biter,” head coach Rose Dolatowski said, noting that the tiebreaker went to 13-11.
After that first set, Leuck and Zeman settled down and played much better in the second set.
With a trip to state guaranteed, Leuck and Zeman next faced Joanie Williams and Andrea Chironis of Lake Geneva Badger, a doubles team they had not played earlier in Southern Lakes Conference action. After dropping the first set 6-1, Leuck and Zeman fought hard before losing the second set 7-5.
“That was a great match,” Dolatowski said. “The second set they played well.”
With the adrenaline gone, Leuck and Zeman fell to Sam Hoyard and Kylie Bliss of Delavan-Darien in their third match, 6-0, 6-4.
Dolatowski noted that every doubles team in the Badger sectional that advanced to state was from the SLC.
“That’s a good thing,” she said.
Two teams from Waterford (at No. 1 and 2 doubles), one from Badger, one from Delavan-Darien, and one from Burlington all made it to state.
At state, Leuck and Zeman, both juniors, will take on Bailey Knight and Alex Johnson of Hudson today at 3:30 p.m.. Leuck and Zeman are 11-12 on the year, while Knight and Johnson are 23-8. Both teams finished fourth in their respective sectionals.
“I’m thinking they (Leuck and Zeman) got a decent draw,” Dolatowski said. “They seem to be peaking at the right time.”
If Leuck and Zeman should win that match, they would play a second-round match against Hannah Dexheimer and Bailey Sagen (31-1) of Oshkosh West, the No. 5 seed in the state. Dexheimer and Sagen have a first-round bye. That match is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. Friday, Oct. 12.