Just call her the Golden Girl.
Case High School freshman Bojana Pozder capped off probably the best season in Racine County girls tennis history Saturday, rolling to a straight-set victory in the Division 1 singles championship match at the WIAA State Individual Tournament in Madison.
The top-seeded Pozder won the title with relative ease, beating senior No. 2 seed Logan White of Milwaukee Divine Savior Holy Angels 6-2, 6-0 at the Nielsen Tennis Stadium, to finish 39-0.
“It’s special — it feels amazing,” Pozder said. “I like being the first one to do this. It’s great.”
Prairie junior Sarah Gesner and senior Hailey Stoltenberg also reached the championship match in Division 2 doubles, but couldn’t quite make it a county double as they lost to seniors Giana Apostoli and Megan Setter of Kenosha St. Joseph 6-1, 6-0 in the title match. The Hawks duo finished 22-7.
Pozder, who lost just nine games in five state matches, is the third county entry to win an individual state title, but the first in Division 1.
Andrea Nilsen of Union Grove won the Division 2 singles title in 1995 and Andrea Bukacek and Kara Metzger of Prairie won three straight Division 2 doubles titles from 2000-2002.
The first two times Pozder and White met this season, both matches went to three sets. Pozder won 6-1, 4-6, 11-9 at the Nicolet Sweet 16 Tournament Sept. 8, then lost the first set to White at the Division 1 Kenosha Tremper Sectional before coming back to win 5-7, 6-2, 10-5. Those were the only sets Pozder lost all year.
So what made this match so one-sided, especially on the biggest stage of the season? Pozder said she got in White’s head with her play.
“I played very well and I didn’t miss a lot of shots,” Pozder said. “That was probably the biggest difference.”
It didn’t start that way, however. White won the first game and the third game as Pozder hit a few balls in the net. Trailing 2-1, Pozder knew if she wanted to be a champion, she had to play like one.
“I realized this is it,” she said. “I have to focus and not look up at crowd — just play my game. I started keeping more balls in the court, I kept her deep so I could dictate the attack and I came to net more.”
Pozder won the final 11 games of the match, closing out her state title with a backhand crosscourt winner.
Case coach Kaleena Vasil said from her perspective, Pozder was nearly perfect.
“Bojana didn’t hit any shots out,” Vasil said. “She hit a few in the net (early), but once she got settled in her routine, she was spot on. The other coach (from DSHA) said said it’s hard to beat a player that doesn’t miss.”
Pozder was equally dominant in the morning semifinal, beating fifth seed Natalie Yang of Mequon Homestead 6-1, 6-1. It was the third meeting between the two, all with similar results.
With one title in her pocket, Pozder said she would like to be a four-time champion.
“I definitely want to be a four-time champion,” Pozder said. “Since I saw I could win this final, maybe I can win the next three. We’ll see.”
Vasil is still in awe of her young player’s play this year.
“I never imagined she could get this far and get a championship,” Vasil said. “It’s amazing for Case, amazing for Racine and for the area in general. This season was just extraordinary. I watched her play and grow.”
Gesner and Stoltenberg ran into familiar opponents in Apostoli and Setter, fellow members of the Metro Classic Conference, in the Division 2 doubles final. The Lancers duo won the two previous meetings in straight sets.
“St. Joseph has the ability to hit where we were not,” Prairie coach Nich Schafer said. “They could hit where they wanted.”
In the semifinal, against senior Margaret Diedrich and junior Rylee Teuteberg of Waukesha Catholic Memorial, there were a few anxious moments, especially in the second set.
After the Hawks won the first set 6-2, Catholic Memorial won the first game of the second set after Gesner and Stoltenberg couldn’t finish off several plays at the net. Schafer said their experience allowed them to get back on track and finish off the 6-2, 6-2 victory.
“That could have been a turning point,” Schafer said. “It would have deflated some teams, but with their experience, they didn’t let it affect them.”
Stoltenberg said they learned from their quarterfinal match Friday, a 6-0, 1-6, 6-0 victory over Stephanie Guy and Audrey Treptow of University School of Milwaukee.
“We won the first set, then in the second we completely lost our momentum,” Stoltenberg said. “We brought it back in the third set, and after that match we knew we needed to keep up our energy and we did with Catholic Memorial in the semifinal. We kept moving at all times and were pumping each other up. We completely dominated at the net.”
Gesner said she and Stoltenberg were determined to get their best finish.
“We definitely peaked at the end of the season,” Gesner said. “Hailey is so positive and she’s super fun to have as a partner. We came in with the mindset to get as far as we could and used what we learned during the season. It was really fun and we’re both proud of what we did.”