Cass Goldner, Hannah Swarm storm back for Naperville Central

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Two weeks ago, Cass Goldner had a wounded wing and only a prayer of playing tennis.

Now she’s in the second day at state.

Naperville Central’s doubles team of Goldner and Hannah Swarm continued quite a comeback story Thursday, advancing to the fourth round of the state tennis meet in the north suburbs.

Goldner, a senior, and Swarm, a junior, finished with a 6-2, 5-7, 6-2 win over Joliet Catholic’s Maddie Bauer and McCoy Hutchison in Schaumburg.

“It’s unbelievable,” Swarm said. “Never thought we’d be here.”

Goldner, who last year advanced to the state quarterfinals with Cindy Liu, had surgery in June for a torn labrum in her right shoulder.

She finally picked up a racquet two weeks ago. Goldner could only serve under-handed, but it didn’t stop the pair from winning sectionals and their first two Thursday matches in straight sets.

“I didn’t think I’d be able to play at all,” said Goldner. “It’s an incredible feeling just to be able to play.”

Not to be outdone, Swarm is coming back from July surgery for a torn meniscus initially pegged to sideline her for 4-6 months.

The Central pair next get Glenbrook North’s Colette and Catherine O’Regan, who beat Neuqua’s No. 1 team of Taylor Hershey and Jessica Chen in straight sets Thursday.

“I feel like we’re getting used to each other,” said first-time qualifier Swarm. “Every match is better and better.”

If the Central doubles team is a surprise, Tiffany Chen is anything but.

Looking everything like a defending state champ, the Redhawks’ junior breezed into the fourth round losing just one game in each of three matches.

“I think I’m playing pretty well — just staying loose and having a good time,” Chen said.

Chen (24-0), who advances to play Jelly Bosovic of Lyons on Friday, hardly looked like a kid facing the heat of pressure.

Just win, settle into a good book — she read Brad Gilbert’s “Winning Ugly” between matches — rinse and repeat.

“I’m not thinking about Friday and Saturday,” Chen said. “You have to focus on the match at hand.”

It wasn’t easy for Benet’s Allison Bartley and Katie Telford to focus.

Midway through the first set of their second doubles match at Hoffman Estates shortly before noon, all the students were sent to the gymnasium because of a “soft lockdown” due to a suspicious package.

Following a two-hour delay, Benet’s first-time state qualifiers came back to finish a 6-0, 6-0 win.

“We had a lot of momentum going into the delay,” Bartley said. “We just had to keep our momentum. We talked to our coaches and listened to some music.”

A 6-1, 6-1 loss to Lake Forest later dropped Bartley and Telford into the consolation bracket resuming Friday.

Also still alive in the back draw after 2-1 records are Neuqua’s Christina Stankovic and the Wildcats’ doubles team of Hershey and Chen.

Central and Neuqua are tied for ninth in the team standings after one day. Hinsdale Central leads, trailed closely by Lyons and Stevenson.

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