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North players and coaches are all smiles after winning a Division 2 girls' tennis regional on their home courts. Photo courtesy of North Tennis

May 22, 2014
All the hard work, the tough matches against top-ranked opposition and the will to make the state finals helped push Grosse Pointe North girls' tennis team to a Division 2 regional championship last weekend.

Host North won the regional tournament with a near-perfect 31 points and Port Huron also qualified for the state finals by taking the runner-up spot with 16 points.

Warren Woods-Tower was third with 14 points, followed by St. Clair Shores Lakeview with 13, Hamtramck with nine, Detroit Renaissance with nine, Detroit Osborn with three and Detroit Mumford with two.

"We scheduled these hard matches to get the girls ready for this tournament," head coach John VanAlst said. "It paid off because our girls played very well today."

The Norsemen won seven of the eight flights, including the No. 2 doubles team of Dayle Maas and Sydnie Allor, who blitzed through the competition before breezing to a 6-1, 6-0 win over Woods-Tower in the finals.

In fact, the Norsemen won all four doubles flights as the No. 1 duo of Kayla Gallant and Jayla Hubbard won 6-2, 6-0 over Woods-Tower in the finals, and the No. 3 doubles squad of Katelyn Carroll and Deanna Hanley defeated Port Huron 6-2, 6-1 in the finals.

The No. 4 doubles team of Valentina Izzy and Anu Subramanian had no trouble beating Woods-Tower in the finals, winning 6-1, 6-1.

Patricia Bajis won 6-0, 6-2 over Port Huron's Ashley Gilbert at No. 1 singles, and Lauren Lesha blanked Port Huron's Amber Green 6-0, 6-0 in the finals.

The Norsemen's final gold medal winner was Christina Rafaill, who played the match of the tournament in the championship against Port Huron's Chaise Jawor. Rafaill lost the first set, 7-5, but rallied to win the second set 7-6 to force a deciding third set.

It was another struggle as the evenly matched players went back-and-forth before Rafaill prevailed 7-5 to take the No. 4 singles title.

Stephanie Loukanova played well in the No. 2 singles championship, but her foe, Lakeview's Claire Flood was a little better in a 6-4, 6-1 outcome.

Coming up for Grosse Pointe North is the Division 2 state finals Friday, May 30, and Saturday, May 31, at Holland.

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