Princeton tennis coach Connie Lind has a simple motto for her team, "Take care of business."
The Tigresses certainly did Friday afternoon at the Rochelle Sectional as both of their singles players and both of their doubles teams qualified for next weekend's state tournament.
Seniors Evinne Dimmig and Alex Beetz are going in singles, and Courtney Schafer and Lindsey Frank, and Emiley Brand and Tristan Hicks qualified in doubles.
Joining the Princeton players at state is La Salle-Peru junior Nikki Kulis.
"It was so exciting," Lind said. "It's just a tremendous feeling to qualify all four. I don't really know what to say. It was just awesome. I knew at the beginning of the year that I had a very talented group of kids. But you put teams together and then they have to perform. They certainly came through (Friday)."
Dimmig, the reigning NewsTribune Player of the Year, earned a return trip to state by dominating her two matches Friday.
Dimmig knocked off St. Bede's Claire Kunkel 6-2, 6-0 before facing Morris' Tara Davis, who played a two-and-a-half hour match in the opener. The tired Davis was no match for Dimmig as she dispatched her 6-0, 6-0 to advance to the semifinals where she will face Kulis today.
"It was probably one of the most humbling experiences of my life," Dimmig said about making state again. "Having the team experience what I felt last year and (experiencing) everything all over again, it's just really fabulous."
While Dimmig's state berth was not a surpise, Beetz shocked the sectional by qualifying. The first-year tennis player competed in just a handful of meets this season, including just one as a singles player, but managed to make her way through the bracket.
Beetz beat L-P's Christy Savellano 6-4, 6-0 to start the afternoon, then eliminated St. Bede's Maggie Pryde 6-4, 6-1.
"It's pretty amazing. It's my first year playing tennis and to make it to state is kind of crazy," Beetz said. "I just played as hard as I could. I go for every ball and try not to let anything go by me. I played doubles all season. It was a really big adjustment (to go to singles), especially with the boundries and not playing with someone else. It's strange to be out there by myself, but I adjusted pretty well."
Hicks also adjust well as she moved from singles to doubles for the postseason, teaming up with Brand.
"It was kind of a hard adjustment because I'm used to playing singles lines. A couple times I got caught off guard," Hicks said. "We're both really strong players. We just worked together the best that we could. We just made sure we communicated."
Brand and Hicks won their first match 6-0, 6-0, then knocked off a doubles team from Rochelle, 6-2, 6-3 to earn their trip to state.
"It is extremely satisfying," Brand said. "I'm just really proud of Tristan and I and her transition from singles to doubles. I think we just accepted each other's strengths and weaknesses. We worked together during practice and got in a groove."
Schafer and Frank entered the sectional in a groove as they had a 22-6 record as well as the help of Dora the Explorer wristbands they wear for good luck.
The pair fell behind Minooka in the first set, but rallied to win 7-5 before taking the match with a 6-3 second set. Schafer and Frank had no trouble in their second match, beating L-P's Chelsey Strickler and April Kutz 6-1, 6-1.
"In the beginning, we were really nervous," Schafer said. "We try not to play to the opponents' level, but sometimes it's hard. Then we went into the second match and played above their level. We were very confident and we really wanted to go to state."
Frank is happy to be making the trip to state with all her teammates.
"It's awesome," Frank said. "This is crazy. It's like a dream come true because all of us qualified."
L-P's Kulis wishes she had some teammates joining her at state, but she is pleased to have qualified herself.
"I was really excited about it," Kulis said. "I can't wait for the tournament, but I wish some of my teammates were going up there."
Kulis won her first match 6-0, 6-2 before clinching her spot at stay with a 6-4, 6-2 victory.
"Nikki played awesome," L-P coach Sue McKnight said. "She just keeps everything going. She just this the ball back and keeps it in play."
Kulis is the first Lady Cavalier to go to state since the doubles team of Melyssa Kotecki and Kristen Kaszynski two seasons ago.