After a disappointing performance at the Metro Suburban Conference Tournament to finish fourth (30 overall points) in the league, there’s no rest for the weary regarding the Riverside-Brookfield girls tennis players. Picking up a paltry 10 points at the MSC tourney, the Bulldogs now turn their attention to the loaded Lyons Township Sectional, featuring state contenders like the host Lions, Hinsdale Central, Nazareth and Hinsdale South.
“Spirits don’t run too high [for the LT Sectional] because we know we’re running into a buzz saw,” RB coach Robert Hegner said. “Hopefully, our players can get some good draws, maybe win a match or two and go from there.”
Regardless of what happens in the postseason, RB actually produced a stellar season, especially considering the preseason outlook was a bit dubious with a relatively low turnout of players and a key injury (Claire Wilson). The Bulldogs responded in fine fashion with an 18-4 record in dual meets and tournament titles at their own invite and Leyden Quad along with a third-place showing at the Willowbrook Invitational.
Senior No. 1 singles player Salem Baer (23-9) has led the way for RB all season.
“Salem has been a real bright spot for us,” Hegner said. “Her focus is unbelievable and she has great endurance and fight. She just wears down opponents and has been on a mission this season.”
Another cause for optimism this year and beyond has been the promising play of the Bulldogs’ other top singles players in freshman Victoria Bojovic and sophomore Nina Dorenbos. Bojovic finished 5-0 in conference matches during the regular season and advanced to the championship match of the MSC tourney before losing 6-0, 6-2 to Timothy Christian’s Abigail Kumar.
“Victoria has been more formally taught [tennis] and played in local tournaments,” Hegner said. “At first, we weren’t sure where to place her, but she’s done well at No. 2 and No. 3 singles over the course of the season.”
The biggest surprise for Hegner has been the emergence of first-year varsity player Riki Matous. The junior joined Isis Galindo to compile an impressive 17-2 record. Matous is 22-6 overall in doubles competition. Unfortunately, she has been saddled with a wrist injury lately which caused RB to withdraw from third doubles at the league tournament.
Other contributors this season included Emily O’Connor, Claire Wilson, Sarah Benya, Gabriella Bova, Samantha Goldsmith, Stephanie Wolff and Victoria Hernandez.