BUFFALO GROVE — University High School's McKenna Schaefbauer put the ultimate cap on an undefeated freshman season Saturday, winning the Class 1A singles championship in the 47th annual Girls State Tennis Tournament.
Schaefbauer (27-0) won in straight sets over Claudia Miller of North Shore Country Day, 6-1, 6-1, to become the third Intercity girls player to win a state singles title. Mariel Verban of Bloomington won the one-class championship in 1995 and Madison Tattini of Central Catholic captured the Class 1A crown in 2016.
Schaefbauer led U High to 18 points and third place in the team standings. North Shore Country Day defended its title with 27 points and Chicago Latin was second with 22.
"It feels pretty good, especially as a freshman to get this far," Schaefbauer said. "My team really helped me. They pushed me through and gave me motivation to do it. At the end of the day, I just wanted to get a good score to help my team out."
The title match, which pitted a pair of No. 3-4 seeds, was played in 20 to 30 mph wind. It didn't faze Schaefbauer, who U High coach Catherine Sturdyvin said "played about as clean a match as you could play."
"She probably had less than 10 unforced errors in two sets," Sturdyvin said. "She was dialed in from go. Claudia (Miller) fought hard, but McKenna never let up."
Schaefbauer said she entered the match "really confident" despite the conditions.
"It was windy, but I've played in a lot of wind," she said. "I live in Central Illinois and there's a lot of wind. I felt it benefited me more than it did her."
Schaefbauer passed her stiffest test of the tournament Friday night with a 6-7, 7-5, 6-3 semifinal win over No. 2 seed Vivian Miller of North Shore Country Day.
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"We were both battling hard," Schaefbauer said. "It just came down to who's going to fight more. She kind of ran out of gas at the end and I kept pressing and kept grinding and I was able to pull through.
"It's crazy to think about (being) undefeated and a state champion. It's crazy. I have to thank my coaches and teammates. They really helped me out a lot."
One of those teammates, junior Abby Totten, saw her season end with a 28-6 record after an 8-1 consolation fourth-round loss to Mia Bertino of Joliet Catholic.
Totten was 3-2 in the tournament and helped the Pioneers accomplish their goal of earning a trophy.
"After day one everything was up in the air, but we had an awesome Friday," Sturdyvin said. "We knew if McKenna could win that final today it would put us in great position."
Central Catholic's doubles team of Charlie Sartoris and Carley Hundman was in the consolation quarterfinals at Rolling Meadow and had a 3-2 first-set lead before inclement weather rolled in.
The back draw eventually was cancelled, leaving Sartoris and Hundman with a 3-1 record for the tournament and a 34-5 season mark. They led the Saints to six points and a tie for 19th place.
"They were playing some of the best tennis I've seen them play all year," Central coach Hannah Meece said. "We were disappointed they couldn't finish it out, but I was really proud of them for how they played all season and especially in the tournament."