Members of the Southern Lakes Conference champion Union Grove girls tennis team are: (front from left) Cassie Maurer, Haley Waldron, Ashley Miller, Brittany Wentworth, Megan Lee; (back row) Megan Tornoe, Kayla Clement, Dana Bauer, Lauren Tuma, Jessica DeGroot and coach Mike Brannen.

By Jennifer Eisenbart

Sports Editor

The 2010 Southern Lakes Conference girls tennis tournament left a little bit of a sour taste in the mouths of members of the Union Grove Broncos.

The Broncos came up less than two points shy of the SLC title, and UG coach Mike Brannen said that loss motivated his team.

“They did not forget how close they came last year, so they wanted to redeem themselves for what they thought should have been their year,” Brannen explained.

With eight returning letterwinners, Union Grove did just that Saturday at the 2011 SLC tournament, winning all seven matches it played.

That translated into three titles, two third-place finishes and two fifth-place finishes as UG clinched the overall SLC title with the tournament win.

“I told the team that we held our own destiny,” Brannen said. “After Thursday (the first day of the tournament), we were still in good shape and I knew that it was about being confident and relaxed.

“We had fun at Friday’s practice,” he added. “We went indoors at Four Lakes Athletic Club in anticipation of bad weather and to help a few girls who had cold.”

That turned out to be a good move, as rain moved into the Wilmot area around noon on Saturday and forced the remaining few matches of the day indoors.

As it turned out, one of those matches involved Union Grove’s No. 1 doubles team of Megan Tornoe and Megan Lee. After losing the opening set, the two rallied and went on to beat Lake Geneva for the doubles title.

The No. 3 doubles team of Brittany Wentworth and Dana Bauer also fought back to win the title in their bracket.

“Both teams could have packed it in, and given up, but they didn’t,” Brannen said. “I told everyone to fight to the end and they did.”

The Broncos got one more title on the day, as Jessica DeGroot defended her title at No. 2 singles for a victory there.

But those weren’t the only battles of the day. Ashley Miller, after losing in the No. 1 singles semifinals to eventual champion Stephanie Londre of Burlington, posted a 6-3, 6-4 win over Waterford’s Kristina Kamer for third in a long match.

The No. 2 doubles team of Haley Waldron and Cassy Maurer also won their third-place match, 6-3, 6-3 over their Delavan opponents.

Finally, Kayla Clement (No. 3 singles) and Lauren Tuma (No. 4 singles) won the consolation bracket – fifth place – by winning three straight matches after losing their opening match Thursday.

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