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updated: 9/5/2012 8:15 PM

Girls tennis: Scouting Northwest

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  • Buffalo Grove's Lauren, left, and Dana Goggin on first day of the girls state tennis tournament at Buffalo Grove last fall. Back for their senior year, the Goggins lead a Bison team with high hopes this fall.

      Buffalo Grove's Lauren, left, and Dana Goggin on first day of the girls state tennis tournament at Buffalo Grove last fall. Back for their senior year, the Goggins lead a Bison team with high hopes this fall.
    Bob Chwedyk | Staff Photographer

By Jonathan Jones
Daily Herald Correspondent



Coach: Tracy Waters-Miller

Last season: MSL Champions and sectional champions

Top players: Zoe Kasiurak, Lucia Strumbas and Alyssa Slager

Outlook: The Fillies hope to keep on their trend of winning streaks with regard to conference and sectional meets. Summer camp was vast in numbers this season, where former state qualifiers and aspiring pros Kristy Dodge (University of Michigan) and Nelle Young (Northern University) came to help the training. Waters Miller is confident of the Fillies' success this year with the leadership of Kasiurak, Stumbras and Slager, even with the loss of senior state qualifiers Kate Allison (Kasiurak's partner), Haley Mallon and Alia Nejdawi.

Coach's comment: "(We're stressing) footwork, breathing and focus on warm-ups," Waters-Miller said. "We want to continue our program's success both on and off the tennis courts."


Coach: Dave Koleno (first year)

Last season: 7-4; Sixth in the MSL

Top players: Freshman No. 1 singles player Aya Okuda and no. 1 doubles team senior Faith Meitzler and junior Natalia Migdal

Outlook: After many years of coaching, Jennifer Mogge decided to step down and Dave Koleno took over the helm. Koleno was a boys coach at Fremd before moving to Conant. Koleno is looking for the Cougars to improve their net and volley game this season. Koleno also feels team unity is helping at the beginning stages of the 2012 season.

Coach's comment: "I want them to play hard and have fun," Koleno said. "(Jennifer) Mogge did a great job with the program, and we'll continue to take it to the next level. (The Cougars) are improving every day."


Coach: Lauren Hall

Last season: 6-5; third in conference and third in sectionals

Top players: Sophomore No. 1 singles player Cassidy Seo, senior No. 2 singles player Holly Kometer, junior No. 3 singles player Amy Byrne and No. 1 doubles team senior Courtney Norenberg and sophomore Maggie Hanna.

Outlook: The Vikings have expectations in playing strong in the weekend invitational and the dual meets so they can gain some more experience. Fremd lost five seniors and Coach Hall looks to the new seniors to step up and act as an example of a varsity player to the underclassmen. Aggressive play and consistency has been a clear emphasis from Hall this season.

Coach's comments: "This year my focus is for the players to be on the offensive by taking control of the match," Hall said. "Specifically in doubles as I am trying to pair my players together. I am stressing for them to communicate with one another and to be really aggressive at the net. Our overall goal for the team this season is to be at the top of conference and to qualify at least two positions in state."

Hoffman Estates

Coach: Greg Rouse

Last season: ninth in MSL

Top players: Junior Courtney Lang

Outlook: Lang is a two-time state qualifier and hopes to repeat or equal the prior year's endeavors in 2012.


Coach: Rich Gutierrez (First year since 2004)

Last season: eighth in MSL

Top players: Junior No. 1 singles player Karla Robles, junior Sabrina Jacobsen, No. 1 doubles team senior Carly Joseph and junior Claire Fallon

Outlook: In the beginning of the 2012 season, many of the girls have moved up from the junior varsity level. With the exit of coach Anita Lee, Gutierrez feels that the Pirates newcomers from the JV level are ready to step up in their roles at the varsity level. Gutierrez is no stranger to Palatine. After he coached the girls team from 1990-2004, Gutierrez coached the Wheeling JV boys team from 2005-2010. He then took the boys head coach job at Wheeling in the 2011 season. He feels the Pirates are buying into his philosophy. The Joseph/Fallon tandem won 24 matches in the 2011 season and has the experience to jump to the next level according to Gutierrez.

Coach's comment: "We are extremely competitive in the one-two singles and one-two doubles," Gutierrez said. "As a team we will be highly competitive. I hope for a record over .500 in dual matches this season."


Coach: Jennifer Kerr

Top players: Seniors Katie McClure, Jordan Parris and junior Divya Singh

Outlook: Kerr who is entering her second year as head coach is stressing the phrase "practice how you play" with the Schaumburg players. She looks to McClure, who has been on varsity all four years as well as Parris and Singh to take on the leadership role.

Coach's comments: "(I expect to see the girls) work hard and to take something away from every match they play," Kerr said. "We stress practice how you play daily and we want to be better than we were last year."


Buffalo Grove

Coach: Kevin Schrammel

Last season: 10-4 (5-0); First in MSL East, second at conference

Top players: Seniors No. 1 doubles team Dana and Lauren Goggin and No. 1 singles player Elise Mousseau

Outlook: The Bison have made a tradition of competing for the top slot in the MSL East and at the conference overall, and their expectations are as high as prior years. The vast majority of Bison who participated on the team partook in summer camp. According to Schrammel, many of the players have dedicated much of their time putting together training in the off-season. The Bison look toward the Goggin twins, who have qualified for state the last three years and finished in the top-24 as well as no. 1 singles player Mousseau to lead Buffalo Grove with experience and by example. Schrammel has high expectations for the strong incoming sophomore Anna Klipstein.

Coach's comments: "(We've worked on) solid doubles play with good movement, consistency with our strokes and tactics and strategies against various types of players," Schrammel said. "Our goal is to always finish on top of the (MSL) East Division."

Elk Grove

Coach: Kristen Harding-Fisher

Last season: 3-11 (0-5)

Top players: No 1. Doubles team senior Taylor and junior Sammie Marquardt, and no. 2 doubles team senior Megha and junior Neha Patel.

Outlook: The Grenadiers only have four returning varsity players. After losing seven players, Harding-Fisher looks to the two sister pairs of Marquardt and Patel to take on the leadership role. The Marquardts played in the off-season at Forest View Racquet Club in Arlington Heights to hone more of their skill as well as competed with their parents. Harding-Fisher and the Grenadiers have continued to work on match strategy, playing offensively and consistency.

Coach's comments: "I would like to see the girls playing their best tennis toward the conference tournament, which I saw last year in a lot of our players," Harding-Fisher said. "Our goal is to place better in conference than last year and always improve throughout the season. I would also like to see the girls playing more aggressively at the net and finishing out the points to win. As a team, we would like to be more competitive with the rest of the MSL."


Coach: Sharon Meintzer

Last season: 12-10; Sixth in MSL

Outlook: With the youth of the Huskies, Meintzer feels they have work to do against top teams, but the girls are coachable and excited to do whatever it takes to improve. Leaders on and off the court have been Michaela Slosar, Elizabeth Niersbach and Sara Magnuson. They motivate their teammates to improve while taking a positive outlook. Many of the Huskies have dedicated extensive offseason work as Hersey has a new lineup of singles this year in Nicole Borst, Magnuson and Tyler Anne Valerio.

Coach's comments: "I have focused on conditioning and work ethic and how it contributes to their mental game as they improve," Meintzer said. "Our team goal is to finish in the top half of the conference and elevate our game to be MSL and sectional contenders in the future."


Coach: Mike McColaugh

Last season: 10-1 (4-1); Second in MSL East, fourth overall in MSL, tied for second place at sectional.

Top players: Seniors Kate Best, Jordan Pollack, Monica Risko, juniors Christina Santiago and Megan Saiki.

Outlook: Prospect graduated the top eight of its 11 players from the 2011 season, including Maggie Partridge, a four-year varsity player and two-time state qualifier, and Tracy Becherer, who qualified for state in 2011. But McColaugh sees promise in the new players joining the varsity squad. Entering his second season as head coach, McColaugh feels the Knights will be competitive in the East as long as they strive to play their best tennis by the end of the season. He also feels a difficult weekend schedule will be great experiences for the new varsity players. With the leadership of third-year varsity seniors Kate Best, who was a state qualifier in doubles last season, Jordan Pollack who returns for her third season as a singles player and junior Christina Santiago, who finished second in conference at third singles last season will be positive influence on the newcomers.

Coach's comments: "Right now our emphasis is on consistency and learning how to compete," McColaugh said. "I'm very happy that a number of our girls have spent a lot of time working on their games since last season and it definitely shows. Our goal is always to be competitive in the (MSL East). We want our girls to play aggressively, play with confidence and play intelligently."

Rolling Meadows

Coach: Jim Gumz

Last season: 8-13 (2-3); fourth in the MSL East, seventh in MSL and third at sectionals.

Top players: Juniors Allie and Jackie Kemph, Erin Barry and Amber Tenuta

Outlook: The Mustangs have 10 returning starters from the 2011 season. Gumz feels the veteran team he has assembled expects to improve on play from the prior season. Six of the returning seniors expect to work together to set a positive attitude. Gumz has stressed working to together to improve the Rolling Meadows team concept. Basic strokes, singles and doubles strategy drills and competition drills are heavily emphasized during practice. The Kemph twins at no.1 doubles are the top returning players; they placed third in the MSL, second at sectionals and qualified for state. Barry placed fourth at the MSL in No. 3 singles.

Coach's comments: "We had all our potential varsity players, except when injured, with us part or full-time this summer," Gumz said. "Six of our players took lessons in the off season or attended tennis specific camps during the summer. Our goal is to show steady improvement in our play during the season so we will be playing our best tennis during the conference, (sectional) and state tennis series. We stress the team concept where everyone contributes to make us the best team we can be."


Coach: Jim Christopher

Last season: 1-5 MSL East; ninth in the MSL

Top players: Juniors no. 1 singles player Camila Sikova, no. 2 singles player Gosia Markiwicz and no. 1 doubles team Pranati Mondakar and Alex Fister.

Outlook: The Wildcats lost the top half of their lineup, but Christopher feels with most of the team in their junior year, they will garner much experience for the next two years. The Wildcats summer camp had the underclassmen give a strong showing, which Christopher believes brings promise for the future. Wheeling has four seniors in the program playing at second and third doubles to help the incoming juniors adapt to the varsity level.

Coach's comments: "I'm pretty realistic about things like letting them know what they need to fix," Christopher said. "(The Wildcats) have to smart and make corrections to their mistakes. If your opponent is a better player than you are so be it, but if you work at your success, I'm happy that you gave it their all. That's all you can ask for."



Coach: Bob Smith

Last season: 10-6 (4-2); Third place in the West Suburban Conference

Top players: Senior No 1. singles player Iva Simeonova, no. 2 doubles tandem senior Priscilla Palma and junior Becca Golden and senior No. 2 singles player Diana Puga

Outlook: Leyden lost 8 of 11 starters from last season's team. Smith looks to the juniors to absorb much of the leadership responsibilities with only four senior starters. With 55 girls on the team, Smith expects great growth as the season progresses.

Coach's comments: "(Our overall goal) is improvement each day and meet," Smith said. "(I want our players) getting the play-in play and extending the point more so than hitting big winners and developing weapons at this time. Our main focus has been how to play doubles and communicate with a partner. We are rebuilding this year."


St. Viator

Coach: Dan Tripamer

Last year: 2-7

Top players: Sophomores No. 1 singles player Megan Balas, No 2. singles player Sabina Raslawski, and No. 1 doubles team Bridget Finis and Nicole Panarese

Outlook: The Lions received a record amount of players in Tripamer's coaching career as 56 athletes came out for tennis this year. The Lions have a very young team as the top three positions are sophomores. Tripamer believes that St. Viator can compete for the top four spots of the Eastern Catholic Suburban Conference.

Coach's comment: "I'm looking forward to their maturation and quality of play," Tripamer said. "I told the athletic director 'to get better each season, the quality of teams have to be stronger.' We have to work harder, and I want to see what better teams look like."


Maine West

Coach: Neal Sipkovsky

Last season: 13-6

Top players: Juniors no 1. singles player Megan Bricks, no.1 doubles team Ania Holubecki and Rachel Anderson

Outlook: Maine West is facing a rebuilding season after losing Nos.1 and 2 singles players Cara Franke and Beth Schaefer, respectively, and No. 2 doubles player Jordan Eshafi to graduation. As the Central Suburban is one of the top conferences in the state, Maine West will look to their out-of-conference matchups to strengthen experience to a young class. Bricks, Holubecki and Anderson, who are three-year varsity members, all will set the tone as the junior class is strong in numbers. Sipkovsky also feels that senior Alexandra Gorski will also be a leader for the team. Although Gorski is a second-year player, she has the kind of skill and flexibility that translates well.

Coach's comment: "We will pick up our game and get better results as we rebuild this year," Sipkovsky said. "We're not as deep this year, and inexperienced, but I feel if we give the best effort and don't give free points we can steal some matches. All you can ask for is focus and effort."

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