HIGHLAND | Michigan City took home the trophy for the Highland Doubles Invitational Saturday, but it was the host's top duo that took all the attention.
Highland's Vanessa and Aby Madrigal sailed to the No. 1 doubles top honors without losing a game until the final match. City's Carol Stuetz and Megan Methner finally stole a point in a 6-1, 6-0 Trojan victory.
Players from other teams, parents and fans crowded around to watch the Madrigal sisters do their thing. Whispers of 'Wow'! and 'They're really good' were loud enough to be heard on the court.
"I love a crowd," Vanessa said. "A lot of people get nervous but I feel like that motivates us more. We try even harder."
The returning state champions have different goals in mind when they show up to a tournament. Winning isn't enough on its own.
"Sometimes, we'll notice that a shot is working really well for us, so we're like 'You know what, I'm not going to hit that shot today.' It makes everything a lot more challenging,'" Aby said. "Sometimes when you're expected to win, you play not to lose. We're always playing our absolute hardest to win and if we do, they we want to win easier."
"We're always trying to give ourselves something higher to achieve."
The Wolves got a win at No. 2 from Lenka Zavodska and Kristen Palmer, who were playing together for the first time. The pair screamed and jumped into each other's arms after taking the match 6-3, 6-0 from Highland's Holly Santaguida and Eleni Sacketos.
"It's an amazing feeling," Palmer said. "We kept moving and we kept our spirits up. We didn't mess around and we kept energized."
It took almost a full set in the morning for Zavodska and Palmer to develop chemistry, they said. But once they did, they cruised.
"I'm a singles player, so this was a very good experience," Zavodska said. "The first match was very hard, very close."
Valparaiso No. 3 Kate Spencer and Marissa Weston won their final 6-0, 6-0 over Michigan City's Kaila Gieser and Claire Hirsch. The Vikings finished third, behind Highland, as a team.