One of the major keys to any good doubles team is chemistry.
Madyson Block and Jetta Weaver hadn’t been partners before, but the seniors were friends and teammates for Sycamore before partnering up this year.
They lost twice in the regular season, picked up two state wins and helped the Spartans win the Interstate 8 title for the fourth straight year.
“I had a really good time this year,” Block said. “Jetta and I, we really wanted to play together for a while, since we were at JV. We were finally put together this year. It was a great time. We had a great time with the team, did really well ourselves. Lots of laughs and blonde moments on the court – that’s the best part. It was a really good year and I could not ask for a senior year.”
They were also named the Daily Chronicle 2023 Girls Tennis Players of the Year.
When paired up this year, they went 18-4. Their only regular-season losses were to Ottawa’s Rylee O’Fallon and Emma Cushing, who ended up taking sixth in the state.
Block and Weaver ended up fourth in the sectional after entering as the No. 1 seed and winning their first two matches. With Weaver missing Saturday due to a family commitment, they ended up not getting a great seed in the state tournament and a tough draw.
“It was definitely scary at first even though I had already been there last year,” Weaver said. “It was just really fun. Obviously I wish we got farther.”
Both Weaver and Block qualified for state last year in doubles. Block and Becca Allen picked up a pair of wins before being eliminated, while Weaver and Sabrina Ezell lost their first two matches.
This year, Weaver and Block opened with a grueling 3-6, 6-4, 11-9 comeback against Alisa Tangmunarunkit and Luna Morales from Urbana. They lost to state runners up Crystina Lee and Jane Carter of Timothy Christian 6-1, 6-0 before rebounding with a 9-7 win over Ottawa’s Makenzie Eichelkraut and Zulee Moreland. Their run ended with a 9-8 (7-3) loss to Carbondale’s Eislee Moor and Reagan Moore.
“Sadly we didn’t get a great seed from the computer-generated one, because we probably could have gone further,” Block said. “We got a pretty bad seed and still managed to have a good time and went out pretty happy with how we played.”
Block said the duo complemented each other perfectly on the court.
“We just kind of corresponded out on the courts better,” Block said. “We each had our specific strength. I’d stay more up at the net, she’d stay more back at the baseline and we figured out how to perfectly play. It was very strategic and some of the best tennis playing I’ve probably been a part of.”
Sycamore coach Rob Majerus said their complementary nature, coupled with their friendship, resulted in a lot of wins, including a team sectional title for the Spartans.
“It does take some time to develop chemistry, but those two definitely had a friendship and a chemistry,” Majerus said. “That aided them in having success on the court together.”
Neither one has firm plans in place to play competitively beyond high school, although both said rec leagues and other options remain likely.
So with that up in the air, each said that made this campaign even more special.
“It was awesome watching everyone win so much,” Weaver said. “We won a lot. It’s really special. … For the end of my tennis career I think it was really special that’s how we got to end it, going to state and winning conference champs all four years. I thought it was really cool.”