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Section VI girls tennis championships: 8th-grader Wang wins

Like brother, like sister – the Wang family has another Section VI championship to bring home.

Williamsville North eighth grader Eileen Wang won the girls tennis singles title at the Miller Tennis Center in Williamsville on Saturday, joining her brother Harry Wang, who won boys singles also as an eighth grader in 2013, as Section VI champions.

Wang defeated Orchard Park sophomore Madigan Hummiston in three sets (6-3, 4-6, 6-4) in a match that lasted nearly three hours. The pair went back and forth, stringing together long, pressure-filled rallies.

“I’m really tired, but it feels good to come through in the end,” said Wang, still catching her breath minutes after the match ended. “I had to focus on every single shot and not lose my focus. [Madigan] played really good, I’m happy to come away with the win.”

At times, Wang was dominant, continuously blowing serves past Hummiston, and constantly dropping impressive winners.

But Hummiston would not go away. She hung around long enough to force a third set and took the lead multiple times. Wang faced Hummiston in the regular season and at ECIC’s, winning both games in straight sets. Saturday was anything but easy.

In the end, Wang’s pace and precise placing was too much.

Hummiston’s day got off to a hot start when she upset No. 1 seed Georgianna Gens (Fredonia) in the semifinals in straight sets (6-3, 6-1). Gens was the Section VI runner-up in 2014 and 2015 and a three-time state qualifier.

Getting a second helping of that championship feeling were Orchard Park senior Kristen Zablonski and junior Lauren Karoglan. The pair repeated as Section VI champions in doubles, defeating Williamsville North’s Courtney Kessler and Erin Lippa in straight sets (6-0, 6-2).

Section VI girls tennis semi singles finalist Eileen Wang, Williamsville North at Miller Tennis Center, in Amherst, N.Y. on Saturday Oct. 22, 2016. (John Hickey/Buffalo News)

Section VI girls tennis champion Eileen Wang of Williamsville North. (John Hickey/Buffalo News)

“This is my fourth time competing in this tournament and going to states so being a veteran really helped calm my nerves," Zablonski said. “Playing together three years in a row, we really know the ins and outs of each other and that helped today.”

Zablonski and Karoglan play singles in the regular season but said there's really no drop in play when they come together for doubles.

"There's an adjustment at first, but we play so well together that we get over that quickly," Karoglan said.

“They played very well against some great competition,” Orchard Park coach Stephen Sayoc said. “They played really well together – just really smart tennis.”

In third-place doubles, Southwestern’s Mikayla Johnson and Olivia Persia defeated Lancaster’s Katelynn Budzich and Alyssa Kranz in three sets (7-6, 7-5, 6-0). In third place singles, Gens beat Lancaster’s Christina Stasiuk in straight sets (6-3, 6-1) to punch her ticket to states for the third time.

The top three finishers in singles and doubles will travel to the state championships next weekend at Sound Shore Indoor Tennis Club in Port Chester. Section VI hasn't had much luck during state competition. Kelly Brown (Kenmore West) is the only Western New Yorker to claim a state title when she won singles in 1993.

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