Bishop Dwenger's Jessica Brust and Kaylee Mulligan agree that one of the key moments in their three-set win at No. 1 doubles at the Concordia Sectional finals on Saturday came during a 10-minute break, when they sat huddled on the court after losing the second set to Concordia's Anna Pennekamp and Mallory Bean.
“We sat on the ground, and we said, OK, we're going to not do that” again, Mulligan said.
“We had a little conversation with ourselves and also the coaches, and it just really calmed us,” Brust said.
After that mental reset, Brust and Mulligan halted the Cadets' momentum and won 6-4, 1-6, 7-5. Theirs was the fourth match to conclude to tie the score at 2-2. A few minutes later, Bishop Dwenger's Victoria Rodenbeck beat Emma Jansing at No. 3 singles, 6-3, 6-4 to clinch a 3-2 Saints win for their second straight sectional title and 17th overall.
“Tori is my little dynamo. She is high-energy, she can go like a little Energizer Bunny for hours. I wasn't worried about her legs, I was worried more about her mental focus,” Bishop Dwenger coach Aubrey Lohser said. “I knew that we were close, and I think hearing her 1 doubles team, I was hoping, propelled her to say, 'OK, I'm going to get this last point.'”
Bishop Dwenger flipped the tables on Concordia, which had won 3-2 when the two met in conference play.
“It feels honestly amazing. We played Concordia super tough in the regular season, this is always a tough match when we play them. Normally it is a 3-2 or 2-3 result,” Lohser said. “I just tried to challenge my girls to try to stay mentally in it, I feel like that's where we faltered before. We were able to do that and pull together a win where we won't able to last time.”
Bishop Dwenger's first point came at No. 1 singles when Ellen Reidy beat Ruth Dolde 6-2, 6-2.
“We're similar players, so I feel like that makes it a good match. We went to deuce a lot. And I'm looking forward to playing her next year, too,” Reidy said.
Concordia's No. 2 singles player, Lauren Harris, beat Macy Moser 6-1, 6-2 in the first match to conclude at the Zollner tennis courts, and the Cadets' No. 2 doubles team of Katie Jones and Alyssa Linder beat Elizabeth Klinger and Emma Farrar 6-2, 6-2.
Brust and Mulligan knew that they had a strong chance to avenge a regular-season loss to the Concordia No. 1 doubles team after going to the tiebreaker in both sets this season.
“It was super close in the season, and then it felt really great to beat them 7-5 (in the final set),” Mulligan said.
At Norwell, the host Knights beat Bellmont 4-1 to win their seventh sectional title. Norwell will now face Homestead, and Bishop Dwenger will play Leo at the Carroll Regional semifinals Tuesday.