Girls tennis / Sectional scouting report
At stake: Advancement to next week's state tournament
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Area teams: Rolling Meadows, Prospect, Fremd, Hersey, Schaumburg, Hoffman Estates, St. Viator and Elk Grove.
Outlook: Rolling Meadows, Fremd and Prospect were neck-and-neck during the course of conference tournament last weekend. The Mustangs won the battle decided by a mere 2 points, taking third place. Prospect was fourth place spot, and Fremd was fifth.
The Mustangs sent one dubles team to last year's state tournamment, Jackie and Allie Kemph (19-8) . The twin duet finished third place in the MSL tournament last weekend. Meadows' top singles player Brittany Khayet (16-15, mostly at no. 2 singles) and no. 2 singles player Erin Barry (17-7, mostly at no. 3 singles) look to earn their first trip to the state tournament. Former Rolling Meadows no. 1 singles player senior Shannon Kulpins will team up with no. 2 doubles player Megan Horan (due to the illness of Amber Tenuta, the Mustangs' usual no. 2 doubles player) in hopes of snagging a spot in the top four. Kulpins/Horan have not played doubles together this season.
"With six players and three coaches at practice we concentrate more on what every individual player needs at this time of year," said Rolling Meadows coach Jim Gumz. "We told our players at conference that it was time to play their best tennis of the season and they did (at the MSL Tournament). We strive for that each week the rest of the season. Now it's the time to play your best tennis."
Prospect no. 2 doubles team of sophomore Alexandra Gorodiski and junior Lauren Saiki received a no. 5/6 sectional seed. Gorodiski/Saiki are fresh off a conference title in what Prospect coach Mike McCollaugh says has been long overdue for a Knights player. No. 1 doubles team senior Katie Best (who qualified for the state tournament in 2011) and junior Christina Santiago grabbed the no. 3/4 seed. Santiago has qualified for state twice in a different sport. Knights no. 1 singles player Natalie Lysik, who finished in third at the MSL tourney, grabbed a no. 2 seed behind Hoffman Estates junior Courtney Lang.
"To borrow from Prospect state champion girls golf coach Jim Hamann, 'The Knights have a chance to make some noise at the sectional this weekend,' " McColaugh said. "We are a confident and hungry group right now. They've tasted a little success recently and want some more. The key this weekend is to stay in the moment and not get too high or too low during the tournament. These matches may have huge momentum swings, and you need to ride them out."
Fremd no. 1 junior singles player Amy Byrne (19-11) finished in fourth place at the MSL tournament after netting some upset wins last Saturday. The Vikings senior no. 1 doubles team of Holly Kometer/Courtney Norenberg (10-5), which also finished fourth, will also compete for a state berth.
"I was enthusiastic with how the sectional players performed for conference," said Fremd coach Lauren Hall. "For sectionals I want the girls to continue with the strategies that we have been working on for the entire season as well as continue to be a more aggressive and confident team. The girls have really done a great job with their mental game as well, so we have worked on different strategies to help them out during tough matches."
Two-time state qualifier Courtney Lang (14-3) of Hoffman Estates finished second in the conference tournament. Lang aims to have the same success as she found at sectionals the previous two seasons.
"We will work hard and have fun," said Hoffman Estates coach Greg Rouse. "We will continue to work the way we have all season."
Area teams: Barrington, Buffalo Grove, Hersey and Palatine.
Outlook: Barrington is the new addition to this high-octane tournament featuring Deerfield, Stevenson and many other state-qualifying teams. Barrington, which is coming off its 18th consecutive MSL title and had been part of the Schaumburg sectional for years , now joins Buffalo Grove, Hersey and Palatine in the Stevenson tournament.
Fillies frosh Michelle Linden dethroned Hoffman junior Courtney Lang in a stunning three-set match at No. 1 singles in the MSL meet on Saturday. Linden now teams up with three-time state qualifier senior Zoe Kasiurak to form Barrington's new no. 1 doubles team. Linden/Kasiurak played in a few invitationals earlier in the season to collect a 12-1 record. Fillies senior no. 1 singles player Lucia Stumbras now teams up with a new partner at no. 2 doubles to push for a state qualification as well. Stumbras qualified for state in singles in 2012.
"We have switched our lineups around during the Saturday tournaments to prepare for this sectional," said Barrington coach Tracy Waters-Miller. "Of course we are disappointed that four very good teams are in the same sectionals. If we look at our surrounding area we would have a better chance for more players to qualify. I guess it just gives another player the opportunity to go to state. We will try our best to represent our school."
Buffalo Grove features twin no. 1 doubles tandem Dana and Lauren Goggin (21-3). They've advanced to state the last three seasons and hope to cap off their career with a similar outcome this fall. The Bison second at the MSL tournament and are looking to send as many teams to the state tournament as possible. Buffalo Grove no. 1 singles player Elise Mousseau (17-10) placed fifth at the MSL tourney.
"I'm feeling good as to how the girls are playing and how we stack up in the sectional," said Buffalo Grove coach Kevin Schrammel. "I'm just trying to make sure we play solid, smart tennis and not get caught up in the moment of big matches. (I tell them to) enjoy it, and trust what you have been doing all year long. This isn't the time to doubt yourself or your strokes."
Hersey placed sixth at the MSL tournament. The Huskies enjoyed a conference title from sophomore Sara Magnuson at No. 2 singles. Nicole Borst finished sixth in no. 1 singles. Hersey's No. 2 doubles team Annie Korff/Elizabeth Niersbach also took sixth.
"Practicing strategy for sectionals is individualized with most of the attention on the competitors, but the support of the rest of the team is crucial for their success. I invite the entire team to practice with (sectional players) so they know they have their support toward the culmination of the season."
Maine West competes in the Niles North sectional, and Wheeling will compete at Highland Park.