Lyons’ duo forges fond memories

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Maggie Schwartz’ memories of her final season of high school tennis will last a long time.

Of course she will recall capping her career last weekend at the state meet. But there was another highlight to the season the senior will not soon forget.

Schwartz still remembers when she combined with fellow senior Jillian Kaehler to win one of the biggest regular season matches of her career. Needing to beat Lake Forest’s No. 3 doubles team to clinch the team title at the Lake Forest Quad Sept. 28, Kaehler and Schwartz pulled off the upset 6-2, 6-0.

“(Coach Bill) Wham said we needed one doubles team to pull through,” Schwartz said.

A month later, Lake Forest went on to clinch a share of the state championship with Hinsdale Central Saturday at Buffalo Grove while Lyons placed sixth (22 points).

According to Schwartz, Lyons secured its first win over perennial power Lake Forest in at least 10 years. The match had a bigger significance in that it cemented the partnership between Kaehler of La Grange and Schwartz of Western Springs.

Wham first paired Kaehler and Schwartz at the beginning of the season and the duo finished 22-6 after going 3-2 at the state meet. Kaehler and Schwartz ended their careers with a 2-6, 6-3, 6-1 loss to Highland Park’s Lizzie Raab and Kimberly Rhum Friday in the fifth round of the consolation bracket.

Schwartz has no regrets over the end of her tennis career. Her final match was her only one that went three sets at state.

“It was a really good match,” Schwartz said. “It was emotional for everybody since we were both seniors. It was not an upset loss, but we were so excited to have the chance to play at state.”

Samantha Sherman and Meghan Hickey also advanced to the doubles bracket at state. It had been four years since Lyons qualified any doubles teams.

“We had such a good feeling on and off the court,” Schwartz said. “That helps when you play when the trust is already there. It’s important for the team when you trust your partner; they have your back.”

It helped that Kaehler and Schwartz started becoming friends last year as juniors when they had the same advanced placement U.S. history and Spanish classes.

“The key was that coach Wham knew we got along and we worked together so well on the court,” said Kaehler, a two-year varsity player.

Kaehler was a late bloomer in tennis. She was a soccer player growing up in North Carolina before moving to the Chicago area in sixth grade. She played soccer for one more year before trying tennis with the La Grange Park District. She liked it so much that she joined Score Tennis and Racket Club in Countryside.

“I was the type of person that needed to be cultivated,” Kaehler said.

She quit Lyons’ track and field team in the spring to play tennis during the offseason. Kaehler is planning to return in the spring to track, where her favorite events as a sophomore were the triple jump and 1,600-meter relay.

“I’m excited about being on the team again,” Kaehler said. “I did miss it, but tennis was my passion. That was my focus.”

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