Girls tennis / Scouting conference tournaments
Where: Prospect, Wheeling and Buffalo Grove.
When: Begins today at 4:30 p.m.; finishes Saturday
Outlook: Barrington (18-5) is competing for its 18th consecutive tournament title. The Fillies, who won the MSL East, edged out Buffalo Grove by 1 point in last year's tournament to maintain their traditional spot at the top of the Mid-Suburban League. Fillies senior Zoe Kasuriak has been a state qualifier and first place in conference in doubles all three seasons so far. She teams up with former No. 1 singles player Lucia Stumbras, who qualified for state in 2011. Barrington newcomer Michelle Linden has turned some heads this season with her play as she earned the No. 1 seed for singles after registering a win against Hoffman Estates junior two-time state qualifier Courtney Lang. The Fillies' other best seeds are No. 2 singles player Alli Holmes (2), No. 3 singles player senior Anna Mettringer (2) and No. 2 doubles team Slager/Donoghue (one seed).
"I'm so impressed with our team and their commitment to what is best for the team," said Barrington coach Tracy Waters-Miller. "Great sports on and off the court. Every match counts. Come off the court and feel proud to be on the BHS Tennis Team."
Buffalo Grove (9-3, 8-0) had similar success as they clinched a first place finish in the MSL East. The three-time state tournament qualifying senior doubles tandem of twins Dana and Lauren Goggin (18-3) earned the top seed in the doubles bracket. They took second place in last year's version of the tournament and have set their sights on winning conference in their final year with the Bison. Buffalo Grove No. 1 singles player Elise Mousseau (16-9) is the No. 3 seed. No. 2 senior doubles team for the Bison, Nicole Pecoraco/Tori Rubinstein is seeded third, while No. 3 duo Hannah Vaselaney/Jennalee Moran is the top seed. No. 4 Bison senior duo Rachel Gross/ Julia Zduncyzk are earned a top seed.
"We had a strong showing in our division and are hoping to carry it over to win the MSL Tournament," said Buffalo Grove coach Kevin Schrammel. "As a team we are 9-3 with losses to great teams (Deerfield, Highland Park and Stevenson). Our goal is to win the conference tourney. We came so close last year and many of the girls have that in the back of their mind."
Fremd (14-5, 7-1) finished second in the MSL West. The Vikes' No. 1 doubles team, Courtney Norenberg/Holly Kometer, hopes to qualify for the state tournament. Norenberg/Kometer combined during weekend tournaments and occasional dual matches to amass a 9-3 record and a No. 4 tourney seed. Vikings sophomore No. 2 singles player Kate Randall is a No. 3 seed. And No. 2 doubles, junior Allison Tomal and sophomore Maggie Hanna are seeded thrid.
"Our team has done an outstanding job for our Saturday meets," said Fremd coach Lauren Hall, whose team took first at the Hersey Invite and third at the Mustang Invite. "We have had some great matches that came down to a third set, and our girls have been able to pull out these tough matches. The girls have really turned it up during practice which has shown in the upcoming matches."
Rolling Meadows (12-11, 3-2), Hersey (5-5, 3-2) and Prospect (3-2) all tied for second in the MSL East behind Buffalo Grove. The Mustangs No. 1 doubles team and returning state qualifiers juniors Allie and Jackie Kemph (18-8, 4-1) are seeded third, while No. 2 senior singles player Brittany Khayet (13-14, 3-2) is seeded fifth.
"We believe that we have a chance to place in the top three in the conference meet and hope for at least a top-five finish," said Rolling Meadows coach Jim Gumz. "We tell our players that this is the time of the year to play your best tennis. We will be ready to go."
Prospect No. 1 singles player Natalie Lysik (7-1) got a fourth seed in her first year of high school tennis, while no. 2 doubles team sophomore Alexandra Gorodiski/junior Lauren Saiki took the No. 2 seed after going undefeated in the MSL East this season and recording a fourth-place finish in the Prospect Fall Classic.
"We feel we are playing our best tennis of the season right now," said Prospect coach Michael McColaugh. "Last weekend was one of our best, and the attitude around our team is that the league has not seen our best yet. Our philosophy is to take things point by point, and the matches will take care of themselves. Our girls are quietly confident. They can have a strong showing this weekend."
Hersey (23-4, 8-0) has the top seed at No. 2 singles in Sara Magnuson. Hersey No. 2 doubles team Annie Korff/Elizabeth Niersbach (10-12, 6-2) looks to help the Huskies garner some points.
"Every match for us this season has been a challenge," said Hersey coach Sharon Meintzer. "I tell my team often that there are no for-sure wins, and you must earn every point because on any given day, anyone can win. My goal for them is to compete to their highest level without reservation of who they are playing in an effort to do their best to score points for our team."
Conant (8-6, 4-4), led by first-year coach David Koleno, finished 8-6 in duals and placed third in the MSL West.
"We have played pretty well against some of the top teams and players in the conference," Koleno said. "This tournament gives our girls another chance to play some of the girls they might have lost close matches to earlier this year. I have liked the improvement of our No. 3 doubles team, (seniors) Julia Gralczyk and Sabika Haq."
Wheeling (8-8, 1-4) has a young team with only four seniors on the roster. The Wildcats look to No. 1 singles player Kamila Sikora (2-3) to have a strong tournament. Although they have endured struggles over the season, Wheeling coach Jim Christopher has liked the strides the underclassmen have taken through the 2012 season.
"We would certainly like to win first-round matches and advance to medal possibilities," Christopher said. "I don't want them to leave anything behind on the court and go out and have some fun. They need to relax and play without fear of losing."
Hoffman Estates (3-12, 1-5) has made a lot of progress with a team that had little varsity experience according to coach Greg Rouse. The Hawks have one senior, Aubrey Van Kurin. No. 1 singles and two-time state tournament qualifier Courtney Lang returns with a stellar 7-1 conference record this season; she is the second seed at first singles.
"We had only four starters return from last year," Rouse said. "Although it hasn't shown in their record (junior Brianna) Randecker, Van Kurin, (sophomore Bianca) Cabrera, (Junior Alice) Kim and sophmores Hita and Priya (Patel) have made great gains this year."
Schaumburg (3-13, 0-5) hopes to show improvement in the tournament. Saxons senior No. 1 singles player Katie McClure (10-12, 4-4), who won two of four close three-set matches at the Mustang Invite last Saturday, looks to lead her team in the conference tournament.
"We have a tough conference," said Schaumburg coach Jenn Kerr. "We have played a few close matches against opponents that many of my girls look forward to playing again. Our second singles player, (junior) Divya Singh, is one of our best doubles players but was suddenly moved to the second singles position. (Singh) is a great singles player, but has been trying to transition her game from doubles to singles and has recently started to put it together. I hope her new skills and confidence will bring her some success at the tournament."
Central Suburban League
Maine West (7-13, 0-5) battled in conference play against multiple state-qualifying foes. Warriors coach Neal Sipkovsky feels the Warriors match up reasonably well versus the second tier of the conference (Maine East and Niles North). Despite their conference struggles, Warriors No. 1 doubles tandem Rachel Andersen and Ania Holubecki have an overall record of 18-5
"We knew coming into the season we would be overwhelmed at times by more experienced and skilled positions, but the effort and competitive spirit on match days has exceeded expectations," Sipkovsky said. "We need to embrace the moment and fight for every point."
-- Jonathan Jones