Girls tennis: Madrigal sisters win state doubles title
By Michael Osipoff 648-3137 or email@example.com June 9, 2012 9:14PM
Vanessa Madrigal, right, and Aby Madrigal celebrate their victory over doubles team opponents Elizabeth Maxson and Audrey Rang of Fort Wayne Bishop Dwenger. Highlands High School doubles players, Vanessa and Aby Madrigal, competed in the 2012 IHSAA Girls Tennis Championships, winning the doubles title at North Central High School in Indianapolis Saturday, June 9, 2012. | Doug McSchooler~for the Post-Tribune
Updated: July 11, 2012 10:34AM
INDIANAPOLIS — Aby and Vanessa Madrigal exchanged a heartfelt hug after the final point, and another celebration was under way.
Highland’s junior twins downed Fort Wayne Bishop Dwenger’s Elizabeth Maxson and Audrey Rang 6-1, 6-2 to win the state doubles championship on Saturday at North Central High School.
“This was something we dreamed about, to do this together,” Vanessa said.
For Aby, it was her second straight doubles title, after teaming with 2011 graduate Liz Quinn, who was among the array of friends and family members who attended matches in support throughout the tournament, including Saturday. According to IHSAA records, she becomes the fifth player to win at least two doubles championships (the first since 2003 and ’04); and the Madrigals become the third sister duo to win together (the first since Clarksville’s Deahna and Tiffany Welcher in 2007), the first set of twins.
“It’s amazing, awesome,” Aby said. “The first time around was so exciting. The second time around, I don’t even know how I feel. I just know it’s really nice to do it with my sister.”
The Madrigals finished the season 15-0, including 9-0 in the postseason. The Trojans did not drop a single set in either of their state title runs.
“It’s just great,” Highland coach Adam Baez said. “To have one state championship is impossible; to have two is more impossible — it couldn’t happen. But these two, they could have three, if they decide to do that. But it’s awfully nice to have this second one.
“I’m so happy for Vany, too. It’s a monkey off her back. Liz is a very good player, but she’s a great player. She felt it was on her if they didn’t win. So now the monkey is off her back.”
Baez, stepping down as Highland’s coach after 12 seasons, and 16 on the Trojans staff overall, downplayed his role in the titles, especially this one. He pointed to the tireless work ethic of Aby and Vanessa, and the coaching of Ofie Madrigal, the twins’ mother and Trojans assistant.
But Aby and Vanessa didn’t hide their desire to win the championship for Baez, who decided to pair the twins at doubles for the postseason.
“I just thank Baez for giving us the opportunity,” Aby, who went 19-0 at No. 1 doubles this season and 6-0 in singles (4-0 at No. 2, 2-0 at No. 1), said of the long-time Madrigal family friend.
“It makes me mad that he’s leaving. I’m going to miss him, and it’s definitely going to be a change.”
Said Vanessa, who went 17-0 at No. 1 doubles this season and 7-1 at No. 1 singles (her only loss came to Chesterton’s Bobbi Modesto): “I wish he wasn’t retiring. He just brings so much positivity, and he always knows the right thing to say. He knows the psychology.”
The Madrigals left little doubt that they would deliver Highland’s second doubles title, and the region’s third in girls tennis (Munster’s Kavita Chowdary and Annie Knish won in 1996), though the match was somewhat closer than the score would indicate, with numerous tight games.
After the score was tied 1-1 in the first set, the Madrigals reeled off five consecutive games, closing it out on their fourth set point.
They jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the second set, before junior Maxson — who lost, with Danielle Maxson, in the first round of the state doubles tournament two seasons ago to Munster then-seniors Kristina Kovacich and Vanessa Sepiol — and sophomore Rang broke Vanessa’s serve. But the Trojans broke right back against the Saints (23-1), and had their first match point at 5-1.
“We got a little antsy,” Aby said. “We wanted to end it with an exclamation point.”
At 5-2, the Madrigals converted their second match point, as Rang’s forehand clipped the top of the net.
“We were really focused today,” Aby said.
“We just work so well together,” Vanessa said. “We know what each other is thinking.”
The Madrigals knew Maxson and Rang from USTA tournaments, and had to set aside any type of relationships.
“That’s why we had to stay so focused — we’re friends,” Vanessa said. “We had to stay tough.”
The Madrigals went through a tough week of practice, hitting with a variety of people from all across the region — people who wanted to assist them in their title quest.
“We’re so happy they were able to come out on their own time to do that for us,” Aby said.
“We were ready to face anybody (after those practices),” Vanessa said.
In the semifinals, the Madrigals had dismantled Zionsville’s Autumn Fair and Kelly Mattingly 6-1, 6-1. They were off the court in well less than an hour, allowing ample time to prepare for the final on a hot day.
And the Madrigals completed the championship match in one hour, 10 minutes.
So will there be a pursuit of a third straight state doubles title for Highland? Only Sandra Gyorgyi of South Bend Adams has accomplished that feat, winning in 1978, ’79 and ’80, with two different partners, according to IHSAA records.
“We’ll do whatever the next coach wants us to do,” Vanessa said. “That’s why thank God for Baez.”