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The Homestead girls tennis team has been No. 1 in state polls since mid-August and has remained unchallenged ever since.

The Highlanders are heavy favorites to win the WIAA state team title, Oct. 21-22, and they are firmly and undeniably acting like they will.

To that end, the Highlanders won every flight and dominated the WIAA sectional they hosted on Oct. 5.

"That just doesn't happen too often," said Highlander coach Jackie Egelhoff, noting that even when Homestead won five state titles in a row from 2008-2012, that didn't happen much. "It was just an outstanding effort."

In all manners and respects. In addition to the state team tournament berth, the Highlanders also earned five slots in the individual tournament set for Thursday through Saturday, Oct. 13-15, back at Nielsen Tennis Stadium in Madison.

The Highlanders' first doubles team of junior Frankie La Londe and freshman Sasha Shapsis (27-1) earned the honor of the tournament's top seed, while the second team of Alyssa Boyer and Bridget Brown (27-6) claimed the 16th spot.

"I'm not surprised that they (La Londe and Shapsis) got the first seed," Egelhoff said. "They haven't seen Neenah yet (the two seed), though. It's an interesting place for them to be. They've been fighting the mental battle (of being favorites) all season, and everyone on the team, including them, have handled it very well."

In singles, state meet veteran Katya Mikhailenko (28-1) claimed the third seed, while freshman Andie Weise (31-2)  earned the 11th spot. Also at state in singles is freshman Natalie Yang (34-1).

The individual tournament, however, is just a warm-up for the team event, and Egelhoff feels the team is ready for it.

"The kids are all excited," she said. "The doubles teams are all finishing strong, and the singles players are looking very good as well. The hope, as it always is, is to peak at the right time.

"But this will be a great experience, a good chance to get the nerves out and settle in and get ready for the big picture."

There was no trouble at all with that situation in the sectional on Oct. 5, as the Highlanders turned in a perfect score of 56 to cruise to the title in the 15-team tournament. Arrowhead and Cedarburg tied for second with 29 each.

As noted, everyone won their flight, as Mikhailenko defeated a Waukesha South opponent in her final, Weise a Cedarburg opponent, Yang a Kettle Moraine foe and fourth singles champion Jamie Gebhardt (32-2) a Kettle Moraine competitor.

In doubles, La Londe and Shapsis defeated a Cedarburg team, while Boyer and Brown dispatched a Cedarburg pair, and at third doubles, Helen Watkins and Crace Crowley defeated an Arrowhead team for its crown.

Egelhoff said all the players were deserving of praise, but she said senior Mikhailenko is playing well and acting like a leader, and Weise has really stepped up her game. Egelhoff called the work of Brown and Boyer at second doubles "extraordinary".

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