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Sports

Girls Tennis: Longtime friends, Oswego's Angelina Pelikan and Erin Kill take SPC doubles title

Oswego East wins team championship for seventh time in nine years.

Angelina Pelikan and Erin Kill's friendship goes back way before the two girls first picked up a tennis racket.

But tennis has certainly furthered the bond.

Pelikan and Kill, both Oswego seniors, have been friends since kindergarten. Kill started playing tennis at the end of seventh grade, in part because she knew Pelikan played.

"I thought this will be a good way to keep being friends," Kill said. "We didn't really have classes together, which is how people are usually friends. By all means we should not have been friends for so long. We stuck together. Tennis was a way to continue that friendship."

Longtime friends are now conference champions.

Pelikan and Kill, Oswego's No. 1 doubles team, knocked off two higher-seeded teams to win the No. 1 doubles championship at the Southwest Prairie Conference meet this past weekend.

Oswego East won the team title for the seventh time in nine years. Oswego, with six of its 11 girls new to varsity tennis, placed ninth.

Pelikan and Kill won a third-set tiebreaker with Plainfield East, then beat Oswego East 6-3, 6-4 and top seed Plainfield North 6-4, 6-4.

"I don't think it's set in yet," Kill said. "I'm still in shock still."

"I thought they could beat all the teams in the conference as long as they remained mentally strong," Oswego coach Ryan Parr said. "They pushed through the highs and lows of playing those matches. They really showed up those days."

Pelikan played singles the first two years of high school, while Kill had other doubles partners. They teamed up as juniors, taking fourth at conference.

"They're both good at the net, Ang is probably a little stronger baseline," Parr said. "They definitely complement each other."

Oswego East, second to Plainfield North during the regular season, moved past the Tigers at conference. The Wolves had every girl advance out of the first round, including unseeded Isabella Cortes, who proceeded to upset third-seeded West Aurora. Crystal Long returned from a sprained ankle to help Oswego East's No 1 doubles team take third.

"That first round, I couldn't have asked for more," Wolves coach Pete Conrad said. "We really needed everybody to step up."

Junior Makayla Buenafe, 22-3 on the season, took the title at No. 1 singles, 6-4, 6-4 over Yorkville's Ashley Hatch.

"They had a tough match during the season and it ended about the same," Conrad said. "Ashley had leads in both the first and second sets. But Makayla is such a strong hitter. She knows she can make those shots."

At No. 2 doubles Oswego East senior Tejaswi Nunna and freshman Jasmine Chan beat Minooka.

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