Aurora -- Answering the call is not easy in girls' tennis tournament play.
Aurora needed a strong finish to secure the team championship for the Suburban League American Conference tournament Sept. 23 in Medina County's Granger Township.
And that's exactly what happened.
The effort, combined with a 4-2 regular season dual match record, gave AHS second place overall in the American Conference behind Medina Highland.
"Going into the final round with the entire team playing for first and second [place] it was our tournament to win," pointed out veteran head coach Dania Banc.
"We needed victories to clinch it and that's exactly what the girls did. We won by beating out No. 1 seed Medina Highland and No. 2 seed Revere"
Aurora finished with 38 team points, followed by the Hornets at 35 points and Revere at 32 points.
Capturing championships for the Lady Greenmen were third singles player Nicole Eastman, plus the first and second doubles teams of Sarah George and Claire Rosengarten and Lindsey Jochum and Dottie Horvat.
Garnering runnerup honors were first singles standout Nadia Abbass and second singles player Karen Steinbauer.
"After huge upsets against all three singles girls from Revere and both of our doubles teams winning their second round matches, we made it to the championship in every spot," said the coach.
"Abbass pulled out a huge win in her semifinal match, beating the Revere girl (6-3,6-3). Abbass lost 6-0, 6-2 to a strong Highland athlete.
"ABBASS LOST to her in the regular season and we knew it would be a tough match, especially with how hot it was, but Nadia knew she needed the win to help our team."
Steinbauer did the same, beating her semifinal foe from Revere to whom she lost in the regular season. She won 5-7,6-3,6-2.
"It was a long match and Karen was just mentally and physically tougher than the Revere girl that day," said Banc.
"This was by far the biggest win for Karen this season. That was a huge victory for our team and put us in a great position."
In the finals, Steinbauer lost 6-2, 6-0 to Highland.
"I just don't think she had enough gas, but just like Nadia, it was Karen's win in her semi match that gave our team the edge going into the finals," Banc said.
Eastman came through with a tough 6-4, 7-5 semi win over her Minutemen foe.
"Nicole also had a hard-fought semifinal win," said the mentor. "She fought through a few serving issues to give us the win and put us in the finals in the third singles position."
In the finals, Banc said Eastman played the match of her career, beating a player from Highland 6-4, 6-1 who she lost to in the regular season.
"She took control of the match and never once faulted, and I think that's the best tennis I've seen Nicole play all season," noted Banc. "She knew going in that in order for us to win, she needed to beat the Highland girl.
"We had a game plan to play very offensive in this match, and she stuck to it with determination and extreme focus. She played amazing."
Banc was excited about the first doubles team, which bested Highland 5-7, 6-1, 6-4 before winning in the finals over Revere 3-6, 6-4, 6-4.
"George and Rosengarten pulled out an amazing come-from- behind win at first doubles against an extremely tough team from Highland," Banc said. "This match was amazing.
"I JUST TOLD the girls to keep being positive and ride out the numerous momentum changes that occurred during their match. We ended up being the stronger team and that put us in a great position going into the finals.
"They came out strong in the second set, and before the third set we talked about what it was going to take to win the match and be the champions; they wanted first place, and nothing else was acceptable to them."
Aurora (11-3) went back out on the court and was down 3-0.
"At the changeover, we regrouped and talked about constructing points and mental toughness," noted Banc. "The girls fought like crazy and ended up winning the match."
The second doubles team of Jochum and Horvat won 6-0, 6-0 in the semis.
"They rolled through their semifinal opponents and had tons of confidence going into the tournament as they were the first seed," said Banc.
"But they knew they had to focus and not let their guard down. They did an outstanding job the entire day, dropping only one total game the entire tournament."
The duo ended up winning in the finals 6-0, 6-1 over Revere.
"Our second doubles team was on fire and it was lights out for this tournament," said Banc.
"What made winning so great was no one expected it, yet all my girls knew they could do it. It was great to see them all fighting so competitively for this win. Every girl contributed to this championship and they should all be proud."
The sectional tournament is set for today (Oct. 5) at Springside Racquet Club in Medina.