No Racine County girl singles player has ever been the top seed at the WIAA Division 1 state tennis tournament.
Until this season.
Case High School freshman Bojana Pozder made some history this year: she enters this week’s Division 1 tournament at Nielsen Tennis Stadium in Madison as the overall No. 1 overall seed.
Pozder sports an undefeated 34-0 record, and has lost only two sets this season — both to Divine Holy Savior’s Logan White (26-2), who is seeded No. 2 in the tournament and finished fifth at state last season.
After not being beaten all season, Pozder said she is determined to not lose now.
“It’s been great so far, and this is beyond what I expected in my first season playing for Case,” Pozder said. “I hope to get to the finals, and my goal is to win.”
“The most important thing for me is staying focused and remaining calm,” Pozder added. “I’m not going to put too much pressure on myself, but I am determined to work harder than anyone else.”
Pozder also is the first player from the Eagles to qualify for state Kaleena Vasil took over as head coach four years ago.
“We’re super excited to get to state and see what we can accomplish,” Vasil said. “I’m probably more nervous than she is, but I know she can win this thing.”
Pozder gets a bye in Thursday’s first round. She then will play the winner of the match between Lizzy Adams, a special qualifier from Brookfield East (18-8) and Manitowoc Lincoln’s Jenna Piaskowski (12-4).
Pozder and her rival White could ultimately meet in the championship match if both escape the other rounds unscathed.
“I think that’s what a lot of people are expecting,” Vasil said. “These two have worked tremendously hard all season, and it would be quite the match if they meet for the third time this season.”
Pozder won the first match between them in early September at the Nicolet Sweet Sixteen tournament. She won 6-1, 4-6, 11-9. Pozder then beat White in the Division 1 Tremper sectional championship match 5-7, 6-2, 10-5.
Those are White’s only two losses this season.
“Those matches could have went either way,” Pozder said. “Logan is a great player and she has a beautiful serve; she is my toughest competitor.”
Also qualifying for the Division 1 tournament was Union Grove’s doubles team of Chloe Woods and Kayla Maurer (12-5). The duo will play Arrowhead’s Kathy Wang and Grace Cady (18-11) in the first round.
Wood and Maurer both started off the year playing singles for the Broncos. But a knee injury to senior Maddy Hansen took the team in a different direction, said Broncos coach Mike Brannen.
“At first, watching them play was like watching two individuals play,” Brannen said. “The chemistry between them grew stronger as the season progressed and they were able to qualify for state because of it.”
While Woods and Maurer might make an unconventional pair, they have a chance to make a run in the tournament, Brannen said.
“This is Chloe’s last year and I’d love for nothing more than for these two to make it deep into the tournament,” Brannen said. “Chloe has the experience and she will come ready to play on Thursday.”
In Division 2, Prairie senior Gabriela Davis and St. Catherine’s sophomore Kate Smith will compete in singles. Prairie’s Sarah Gesner and Hailey Stoltenberg are seeded third in doubles.
Davis (12-16) will face Newman Catholic’s Becky Larrain (21-8) in her first-round match, and would play Larrain’s No. 2 seeded sister, Mia (28-1), in the second round if she advances.
Gesner and Stoltenberg (19-6) will either play Altoona’s Morgan Dekan and Kate Harris (17-5) or Barron’s Jada Brunkow and Phoebe Jerome (17-3) in the second round.
“Sarah has been to state before so I know she’s excited to get back out there,” said Prairie coach Nich Schafer. “All three of these girls worked really hard in the offseason to get to where they are now; I can’t wait to see what they do.”
Smith from St. Catherine’s was selected as a special qualifier. Her 7-10 record does not indicate how she has played this season, said Angels coach David Mooney.
The sophomore will play Altoona’s Sydney Presler (20-4) in her first match.
“Kate has worked incredibly hard all season and she’s been right there with the top players,” Mooney said. “She’s only a sophomore so the nerves will definitely be there, but I think she can knock her opponent out in the first round.”