Girls tennis: Madrigals fall; Munster wins
By John O’Malley Post-Tribune correspondent May 16, 2013 11:12PM
Updated: June 18, 2013 8:29AM
MUNSTER — It never seemed to matter how well Jessica Rooth played, she just couldn’t find a way to beat Highland standout Vany Madrigal.
The two friends started playing against each other as 8-year-olds with the ultra-talented and classy Madrigal always holding the upper hand.
The script changed dramatically at Thursday’s Munster Sectional, as Rooth stunned the Trojans standout with a 6-2, 7-5 win in the semifinals.
Rooth’s improbable upset victory came off the heels of a 6-2, 6-1 loss to her last week and helped the Mustangs (17-4) to a 5-0 win.
Munster blanked Hammond 5-0 in a title match that lasted 35 minutes, to capture its 37th straight sectional crown and the school’s 38th overall. The Wildcats advanced by beating Gavit, 3-2.
“I’ve been playing Vany since I was eight, and I’ve lost every time,’’ said Rooth, who watched Madrigal tie the second set at 5, before taking the next two games.
“I knew it was the last time I’d be playing her in high school and I just wanted to make it worth it and play a good match against her,’’ Rooth said. “It’s just a really good feeling to win. I don’t really know how to describe it. I just put everything into it I had.’’
In an incredible display of sportsmanship, Madrigal hugged Rooth at the net and said: “Good job, Jess, but it was the worst time to beat me.’ ‘’
Later, Madrigal, who along with sister Aby, won a state doubles title last year, broke down.
“To be honest, I was trying to find what it was I was missing today the whole time,’’ Madrigal said. “Unfortunately, I’m a senior. This hurts really bad, but she’s my friend, so I guess it doesn’t hurt as bad. It is what it is. I hope Jessica goes really far.’’
Aby Madrigal and her No. 1 doubles partner, Holly Santaguida, were also knocked off by Munster’s Paige Heuer and Nikki Heiniger, 6-4, 6-4.
“Until this year, I’ve never beaten Aby in any situation (singles or doubles) and now we’ve done it twice,’’ Heuer said. “It’s not every day you get to beat a two-time state (doubles) champ.’’
Heuer and Heiniger won a three-set match against the Trojans’ duo a week ago.
“I think this time we did better by stepping in and attacking more,’’ Heuer said.
The Mustangs will face Crown Point at the Highland Regional.