Many prep tennis players would consider a 20-win season that includes a state appearance to be the highlight of their career — a dream season come true, perhaps.
Though Morris sophomores Monica Davy and Leah Lines say they are happy with those accomplishments, they use phrases like "unfinished business" and "learning experience" when talking about their year, and specifically their showing at state.
That desire for success has helped Davy and Lines get to a level sufficient for them to be named Morris Daily Herald Girls Tennis Players of the Year for 2012.
"I knew we were definitely capable of (20 wins)," Lines said. "It was good to see that we could go out and accomplish our goals. Last year, we were just above .500. We knew we could play better than that."
Davy and Lines went 20-6 overall and 4-1 in Northern Illinois Big 12 Conference East play this season against every opponents' No. 1 doubles team. They were second of 12 doubles teams at the NIB12 meet and were named first team All-Conference.
A second-place Ottawa Sectional finish got Davy and Lines to state. There, they lost their first match 6-1, 6-1 to Abbie Boswell and Kamile Stadalnankait of Naperville North.
"They were a very good team. We haven't had very much experience against that kind of competition," Davy said. "I look at it mostly as a learning experience. Next year, I feel we definitely will be able to play with that caliber of opponents more competitively."
The loss sent Davy and Lines into the consolation bracket, where they drew another NIB12 team — one from the West division, and one they had never faced before — in Emily Parsons and Callie Sinn of Sterling. Davy and Lines prevailed by a 6-4, 6-4 final.
"We had seen them play a couple of times before. It was a tough match, but I'm glad that, in the end, the toughest team pulled it out," Davy said. "Mostly I felt pride. All Leah and I wanted to do was make Mr. (Luke) Windy proud and make Morris proud, and we could feel like we'd done that after we got a win."
Catherine Joss and Molly Wallach of Fenwick eliminated Davy and Lines in the second round of consolation play, but after falling 6-1 in the first set, Davy and Lines lost 7-5 in the second.
"I think we both knew we could play a lot better," Lines said of the first set. "We kind of put in a new strategy (in the second set) where we would both stay back at the baseline. We both like our ground strokes, but we wanted to stay back there and let them make mistakes instead of us, and in doing that, we kept it close."
Davy said playing at state is "by far" the best experience of her high school career.
"I loved it," she said. "I just took everything in. I got to play tennis at state with my cousin. We played really well, for the most part, and it was a big learning experience for the two of us."
Davy and Lines have around nine months until the start of their junior tennis seasons, but only a few weeks after they played their final match as sophomores, the duo was back on the court.
"We took some time off, but we both like to stay active," Lines said. "We're taking lessons in Lockport now. I go Sunday nights and Monica goes on Monday nights. In January, we will be playing on a team in Lockport. ... Monica and I stay after school every night to work out. We spend time in the weight room, just try to get in the best shape we can."