Until this season, no Naperville North girls tennis player, in doubles or singles events, had ever made it to State Semifinals of the IHSA tournament, let alone the State Championship match. This past Saturday, that all changed when Huskie sophomores Brooke Coffman and Gabby Lee made school history by advancing to the Doubles State Championship after a win over Natalie Schoen & Abigail Lee from Deerfield in the semi finals. This Feature Story is presented by Edward-Elmhurst Health.
Huskies Making Tennis Program History
While the performance can be considered surprising by some, Coffman and Lee proved throughout the season and their 2021 freshman campaigns that they certainly had what it takes to make a deep run in the State tourney. The duo burst onto the scene a year ago, winning a Sectional Championship in their first varsity season. They proved early on they had the ability to play beyond their years, knocking off tough senior opponents from schools like Neuqua Valley and Benet Academy last fall. The two then had great inaugural success in the 2021 State tournament, advancing to the third round before falling to the eventual State Runners Up from Hinsdale Central, and then picking up two more wins in the consolation bracket.
Coffman and Lee Build on Success
This Fall, Coffman and Lee were somehow even more dominant, cruising to both the DVC and Sectional Championship first place finishes. Their success as a doubles pairing helped lead to tremendous team success. Naperville North won the team DVC Championship and the Benet 2A Sectional as well.
When the 2022 State Tournament began, Coffman and Lee continued their strong play, advancing to the quarterfinals with little adversity, not even dropping a single game in their first two victories. A tough battle in the quarterfinals against Sophia Denizov & Alexandra Popa from Glenbrook South needed a second set tiebreaker before the Huskies advanced to the semis, making program history in the process.
But this sophomore combo was not satisfied with just a final four appearance. Despite facing long odds against the number two overall seed in the tournament, Coffman and Lee gave everything they had before prevailing in three sets over Schoen and Lee from Deerfield. The achievement was not lost on these talented young Huskies.
“Honestly, I’m just really proud to get to this spot. We worked so hard this season and last season just to get here,” said Gabby Lee.
“It still doesn’t really feel real. I feel like, I don’t know, it just feels like I just want to play tennis, but it’s like the State Finals,” said Brooke Coffman with a smile.
The magical run ended in the Doubles State Championship against Isabelle Chong & Lainey O’Neil from Lake Forest. Chong and O’Neil were the defending champions from 2021 and proved that they remain the team to beat in Illinois after the 6-1, 6-2 win in the Finals over Coffman and Lee.
Despite coming up short of a State Title, Coffman is proud of the achievements this fall and knows there is still a bright future ahead for the next two seasons. “This team was really good. Hopefully we can just go to their level, next year. I’m really proud we got through the quarterfinals and the semis. We’re going to just keep practicing and just getting better at doubles and singles.”
“Also train really hard so that we can hopefully win State,” added Lee.
For Naperville Sports Weekly, I’m Justin Cornwell.