By Marty Farmer
Fenwick No. 1 singles player Haley Fakouri won her 19th and 20th matches against Loyola and Trinity Christian, respectively, last week. Those victories earned Fakouri the No. 2 seed at the upcoming Girls Catholic Athletic Conference meet. Fakouri will likely be seeded first at the Timothy Christian Sectional in the Class 1A state playoffs.
"Haley is improved in several aspects since last year, including her serve and backhand," Fenwick coach Gerard Sullivan said. "She has a lot of good wins to show for it. She had a good summer of competition, too, and is highly ranked among Illinois seniors (by tennisrecruiting.com).
"Her goal of getting one more win and a medal at state is definitely on her mind."
The Friars' only other individual event win against Loyola came in a 3-setter won by Brooke Lepore and Morgan Hosty at No. 3 doubles. The Ramblers defeated Fenwick 5-2 in team scoring.
The Friars' lone loss against Timothy Christian occurred at top doubles, where Timothy Christian played its top two players with the intention of a deep run at state. Fenwick topped the Trojans 5-1 in the final dual-meet score.
And on Sept. 20, Fenwick tied crosstown rival OPRF 4-4.
Last season, the Friars finished 8-2, third in the GCAC, won a sectional and placed 13th in the 1A state finals in 2016. Fakouri won six of eight matches to finish sixth at state.
This year, Fenwick (12-7-1) enters the GCAC tournament with a 2-3 conference record. The Friars hope to surpass St. Francis for a top-three finish of the six teams in the conference's Red, or A, Division.
In addition to Fakouri, the Friars have benefitted from several other players' contributions.
Junior Bella Burdi has held the No. 2 singles position well,
"Bella Burdi is getting maximum experience out of the season for herself at #2 singles," Sullivan said. "She has shown development in her game. Her goal is to win matches and gain confidence during the regular season to develop into a seeded and dangerous singles entry in the postseason."
Seniors Maria Krug and Anna Hendricks have played well at No. 1 doubles.
"Both Maria and Anna medaled in conference and made it to the state qualifying round last year," Sullivan said. "They are motivated to repeat and improve on those results."
Junior Kelly Chapman and senior Shannon Hayes make up a strong second team in doubles.
"Kelly and Shannon are playing very close to our No. 1 team now, which is great for both teams at practice," Sullivan said. "Both teams have solid results and are gelling so they will very likely stick. Our two top doubles teams push each other and have had some good wins. They have much more potential as they improve their court positioning and attacking games."
Brooke Lepore and Morgan Hosty are at No. 3 doubles for Fenwick.
The rest of the roster includes junior Colleen Stephany (No. 3 singles) and doubles teams Bridie Owens/Maggie Matthews and Emily Burda/Bridget Hartman.