Badger foursome relies on chemistry
Badger's Riely Mikrut (left) and Lily Fisher celebrate after a win.
Chironis (click for larger version)
|WIAA STATE MEET -
Nielsen Stadium, Madison
Division 1 — Riely Mikrut/Lily Fisher, Lake Geneva Badger (13-3) vs. Erika Chitko/Megan Kaul, Beaver Dam (13-3), 3:30 p.m.; Joanie Williams/Andrea Chironis, LGB (15-1) vs. Taylor Jorgensen/Carly Van Nuland, Kimberly (11-5), 6 p.m.
Division 2 — Liz McGrail, Big Foot/Williams Bay (20-3) vs. Elizabeth Manlick, Columbus Catholic, (17-3), 7:30 p.m.; Annie McGrail/Lauren Speare, BFWB (10-3) vs. Kelcy Owens/Kristen Kalinka, Kenosha St. Joseph (13-1), 8 p.m.|
October 12, 2011 | 07:37 AMLast Thursday, the Badger Sectional provided good news throughout the day for the Badger girls tennis team.
By 10 a.m., the Badgers already advanced two doubles teams to Thursday's Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association individual state meet in Madison.
The No. 1 doubles tandem of Riely Mikrut and Lily Fisher along with the No. 2 doubles duo of Andrea Chironis and Joanie Williams both won their first matches of the day, automatically qualifying them for state.
But neither team was finished. Williams and Chironis ended up as sectional champs, downing Delavan-Darien 6-2, 6-1, in the title match. And Mikrut and Fisher gave it their all but fell just short in the title match, 3-6, 7-6 (2), 6-2, to Janesville Parker.
On Monday, coach Marty Badt said it has been five or six years since two Badger doubles teams reached state.
"These girls are well-deserving," he said. "It will be a great experience for us."
Fisher, who played at Keith Country Day in Rockford, Ill., a year ago, and Mikrut said they felt nervous in their first match.
"The past two years, our teams messed up in sectionals in Illinois," Fisher said. "I was really worried about that."
"No matter how much I told myself it was another match, I was shaking when I served," Mikrut said.
Mikrut and Fisher downed Fort Atkinson, 6-3, 6-1, to qualify for state. They also dominated in their next match, a 6-1, 6-3 victory over Mukwonago. Mikrut, a senior, and Fisher, who transferred to Badger this fall, quickly developed chemistry.
"My decision to come here was a week before school started," Fisher said. "But I've known her (Mikrut) for a long time because we've played tennis together in the summer with Marty. We had some practices before the season and worked well together. The way we play balances each other out."
Mikrut was excited to have an old buddy as a new teammate.
"For the past couple years, Lily would say she might come to Badger," Mikrut said. "I would always cross my fingers. When she came, I was excited. Our goal was to make it to state."
Tennis is Fisher's main sport, and Mikrut said her and her dad work on her game in a Monday night men's league at Grand Geneva Resort and Spa. It will be the first state appearance for both athletes.
Badt was impressed with the No. 1 doubles team.
"They showed they can play with anybody," he said. "They are playing well. They have picked it up and have great communication."
As for state, Mikrut knows the sky is the limit.
"If we play like we know how to play, we'll be good," she said.
Williams and Chironis, two freshmen phenoms, had a breeze at the tournament.
They walloped Watertown, 6-2, 6-3, before destroying Delavan-Darien, 6-2, 6-1, to win the sectional.
Both girls are the last of two Badger tennis legacies. Each are the youngest of four siblings who all played for Badger tennis.
"We became a team in the middle of the season," Williams said. "We get along well and have good communication."
The girls have a goal to win their first match at state Thursday so they can advance to Friday's round.
"I need to improve my serve for state," Chironis said. "I'm going to work on that."
According to Badt, the sectional was fairly easy for the duo.
"They were in control the whole time against Delavan," he said. "When the opponent is down, they really take advantage. If they play the way they have been, they will compete at state. I just need to get them in the right mindset."