Posted Online: Oct. 19, 2009, 8:46 pm

Former Moline duo netting success at Northern Illinois

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Daniel Makarewicz, danmak@qconline.com

Photo: Northern Illinois University
Former Moline tennis standout Brooke Forsberg again is teamed up with former Maroon teammate Sara McLaughlin, this time at Northern Illinois University.
Photo: Northern Illinois University
Former Moline tennis standout Sara McLaughlin has joined former Maroon teammate Brooke Forsberg on the Northern Illinois University tennis team.
When contacted to do an interview with tennis players Brooke Forsberg and Sara McLaughlin, the Northern Illinois media relations department suggested the two be questioned together.

Sessions like that can be rather challenging, but it wasn't an issue for the former Moline standouts, considering Forsberg and McLaughlin have been friends for some time.

"I've known her since diaper days," McLaughlin said.

The friendship has been tight the whole time. So strong, in fact, that when it was time to choose a college, McLaughlin figured it would be somewhat wise to join her friend and former high-school teammate at NIU.

"It had a lot to do with it," said McLaughlin, a sophomore and current team captain. "Iwas looking at some different schools, but the fact that I knew someone on the team was really comforting."

Teammates for two seasons at Moline, Forsberg and McLauglin were doubles partners and also competed for the top singles spot. The competition between the two was sometimes fierce, but that all has changed the last two years.

"In high school, we were friends and we were competing against each other,"said Forsberg, a senior. "It was more of a competing factor. Now, we're not competing against each other and it can be a friendship."

While they are on the same team, Forsberg and McLaughlin haven't competed against each other for playing time.

"We still have a really good bond," Forsberg said. "I think bonds grow a lot more once you hit the college level because you're living on your own and your friends in college become like your family. I think it takes the friendship to a whole new level."

When she first stepped on campus two years ago, McLauglin turned to Forsberg, then a junior, to get through the initial transition phase.

"It seemed really comforting to have her here,"McLaughlin said. "I felt really comfortable coming to her with certain things. She's an extremely approachable person."

Even though the two only have played one doubles match together in college -- an 8-5 loss to DePaul in April -- everything really has worked out for the best.

"It wasn't planned,"Forsberg said. "I don't know if I can say it was a perfect fit, but it worked out well for both of us. ... I guess it was a perfect fit."

Sanchez helps get Leathernecks win: Western Illinois senior midfielder Nathan Sanchez (Moline) scored the game-winning goal in its 2-1soccer win over Centenary on Saturday. Sanchez scored in the 84th minute, his first of the season, to put the Leathernecks up 2-0 before Centenary countered six minutes later.

Ulrey fourth in Chile Pepper Festival: Dorian Ulrey (Riverdale)had one of his best cross-country showings of the season Saturday. The Arkansas junior finished fourth individually at the Chile Pepper Festival in Fayetteville, Ark. Ulrey completed the race in 29:37.5, helping the Razorbacks to a third-place finish in the 29-team meet.

Busch strong in collegiate debut: Oakland freshman swimmer Alyssa Busch (United Township) had a nice debut last weekend. On Friday, she was on the 400-yard medley relay team that finished first at the Tom Stubbs Relays in Bowling Green, Ohio.

In a triangular with Illinois and Toledo on Saturday, Busch was fifth in the 100 backstroke (59.15) and seventh in the 200 backstroke (2:09.87).

Q-C pair helping Loras to hot start: The Loras men's soccer team is 13-1-1 this season with the help of senior forward Tyler Loucks (Geneseo) and junior midfielder Thomas Jennings (Alleman). Loucks is fourth on the team with four goals. Jennings has started all 15 matches, recording one assist. The Duhawks have won nine consecutive matches.


Know a student-athlete who should be mentioned in the Q-C College Connection? Please send them to sportswriter Daniel Makarewicz at danmak@qconline.com