Even with Kapaun taking the City League girls tennis title for the past eight years, coach Kathy Schulte knows exactly what made number nine a little more special than the rest — her youngest daughter’s senior year.
“It’s pretty amazing, and every year I wonder if we could (win the City League tournament) again,” Schulte said. “It’s pretty special for me, because my youngest child is a senior on the team, and this will be the last City League title I’ll ever have with a child on the team and me as a coach. To me, that gives it a little extra special touch.”
Although Allie Schulte fell to Bishop Carroll’s Courtney Lubbers in the No. 1 singles championship match, both of Kapaun’s doubles teams topped Carroll’s, and Kapaun’s No. 2 singles player finished in second place on Saturday at the City League Tournament to help the Crusaders win the title for the ninth consecutive year. All four championship matches featured Kapaun players.
Schulte and Lubbers have met up a number of times, and it always resulted in an interesting match. Both girls have a similar style of play: a combination of power and finesse.
“I know she’s a strong opponent. I’ve beaten her, she’s beaten me, but I know I always expect a close match,” Lubbers said. “I know I have to come out ready and play my best.”
Schulte jumped ahead in the first set with a quick 2-0 start, and it was evident that Lubbers’ frustration was setting in. But when Lubbers won the next six games to take the set 6-2, the momentum shifted.
The two traded games for the first four of the second set, when Lubbers won two consecutive for a 3-2 lead. Schulte tied the set at three, but Lubbers won three consecutive games to finish off a 6-3 set, and the match.
“I think when (Lubbers) first came out she was trading shots with (Schulte), rather than trying to take control,” Carroll coach Darren Huslig said. “Allie did a great job, and we let her have control and she took it to start off with, and I think the difference was that Courtney fought through that.”
Kapaun’s No.1 doubles team of Elizabeth Pringle and Carmen Mindt was unaware that the pressure fell on it if the Crusaders wanted to win another title.
“With the way the City League points work I knew I would have to win either the No. 1 singles or the No. 1 doubles to be able to pull off the City League championship,” Kathy Schulte said. “The fact that the No.1 (doubles) team won, that’s what cinched it for us.”
Prior to the match, Pringle and Mindt had split with Carroll’s Nicole and Natalie Lubbers this season. Kapaun took the first set with a tiebreaker, but the doubles team that has improved since its first season together last year, pulled out a 6-1 second set for the win.
“We’ve adapted our games to be able to change it up when needed throughout the match. If some stroke isn’t working, we can just try a different strategy,” Pringle said.
Northwest’s Anahi Arce-Gross kept Carroll’s Hannah Whitton out of the second singles championship match, the only championship match that did not feature a Carroll player. Arce-Gross defeated Kapaun’s Livia Ciccolari-Micaldi for the second singles title.
City League Tournament
Kapaun 18, Bishop Carroll 16, East 14, Northwest 12, South 9, Heights 8, West 6, Southeast 4, North 3.
No. 1 Singles—First, C. Lubbers, Carroll, def. Schulte, Kapaun, 6-2, 6-3; Third, Gaviria, West, def. Nery, East, 7-5, 6-2; Fifth, Rose, South, def. Torres, Northwest, 9-4; Seventh, Diec, Heights, def. Biby, North, 9-5.
No. 2 Singles—First, Arce-Gross, Northwest, def. Ciccolari-Micaldi, Kapaun, 6-1, 6-4; Third, Whitton, Carroll, def. Parker, East, 2-6, 7-6 (4), 10-3; Fifth, Schueller, North, def. Peh, Heights, 9-4; Seventh, Simon, West, def. Reyes, South, 9-2.
No. 1 Doubles—First, Pringle-Mindt, Kapaun, def. Ni. Lubbers-Na. Lubbers, Carroll, 7-6 (8), 6-1; Third, Courington-Surender, East, def. King-Rivera, Heights, 5-7, 6-1, 6-4; Fifth, Andrewjeski-Van Cleave, South, def. Bolder-Arline, Southeast, 9-4; Seventh, Wanless-Haase, Northwest, def. Ivy-Trice, West, 9-4.
No. 2 Doubles—First, Morton-Ciccolari-Micaldi, Kapaun, def. Steven-Garcia, Carroll, 6-2, 6-1; Third, Smith-Brown, East, def. Wingert-Haight, Northwest, 6-7 (7), 6-4, 6-2; Fifth, Tritschler-Lorena de la O, Heights, def. Willard-Garcia, South, 9-0; Seventh, Meneses-Martinez, North, def. Nava-Cooper, West, 9-3.
No.1 Singles—C. Lubbers, Carroll, def. Nery, East, 6-2, 6-1; Schulte, Kapaun, def. Gaviria, West, 6-3, 6-1.
No. 2 Singles—Ciccolari-Micaldi, Kapaun, def. Parker, East, 6-4, 6-3; Arce-Gross, Northwest, def. Whitton, Carroll, 4-6, 7-6 (1), 6-2.
No. 1 Doubles—Pringle-Mindt, Kapaun, def. King-Rivera, Heights, 6-0, 6-0; Ni. Lubbers-Na. Lubbers, Carroll, def. Courington-Surender, East, 6-3, 6-0.
No. 2 Doubles—Steven-Garcia, Carroll, def. Smith-Brown, East, 6-2, 6-1; Morton-Ciccolari-Micaldi, Kapaun, def. Wingert-Haight, Northwest, 6-0, 6-1.