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updated: 9/5/2013 5:23 PM

Girls tennis: Scouting Northwest

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  • Amy Byrne is among the players returning for a Fremd program which hopes to take a step forward this fall.

      Amy Byrne is among the players returning for a Fremd program which hopes to take a step forward this fall.
    George LeClaire | Staff Photographer

By Jonathan Jones
Daily Herald Correspondent


Buffalo Grove

Coach: Kevin Schrammel

Last season: 10-3 First in the MSL East, Second in MSL Tournament

Top players: Anna Klipstein, Allison Flack, Jenna Lee Moran, Rachel Gross/Julia Zduncyzk

Seniors lost: Four-time state qualifiers Lauren and Dana Goggin and Elise Mousseau

Outlook: The Bison posted the usual successful 2012 season finishing at second in the MSL. The Bison will miss longtime competitors at the varsity level in the Goggins sisters and Mousseau. With a lot of new personnel this season, everyone is getting in the swing of things with new partners and positions so they can compete at a high level. Buffalo Grove looks to the strength of play and leadership position from returning varsity members Rachel Gross, Julia Zduncyzk and Anna Klipstein.

Coach's comments: "Competing at a high level is our main priority," Schrammel said. "The girls get a nice feel for getting back into the tennis mode and carry it through the rest of the summer with their training. We were pleased with our-second place finish, but at the same time disappointed that we couldn't catch Barrington for first overall. (Our expectations are) to compete for the MSL East and place in the top three at conference."

Elk Grove

Coach: Kristen Fisher

Last season: 12th in MSL Conference

Top players: Freshman Jelena Vujanic, seniors Sammie Marquardt and Neha Patel

Seniors lost: Taylor Marquardt and Megha Patel

Outlook: Elk Grove is returning six of 11 varsity players from the 2012 season. The Grenadiers have new freshman Jelena Vujanic, who is nationally ranked at USA Tennis at the 14-year-old level. Vujanic also is 11-1 on USA Tennis at the 16-year-old level. The Grenadiers added depth, especially with long-time varsity players Marquardt and Patel. Fisher initiated the team composition books to keep a journal so they could reflect on their match play. Fisher prepares the Grenadiers to finish stronger this year in closer matches.

Coach's comment: "We want to improve upon our conference standings," Fisher said. "With that being said, we need to have a stronger record going into the conference tournament. We need to finish stronger in the weekend events like our own invite and the Glenbard East Invite."


Coach: Sharon Meintzer

Last season: Third in division; Fifth/sixth at conference tournament

Top players: Junior Sara Magnuson

Seniors lost: Nicole Borst and Meredith Ward

Outlook: Meintzer and the Huskies hope to finish in the top-three tier in the MSL after finishing in fifth/sixth last season. As the Huskies feature multi-sport athletes on their roster, Meintzer feels that they never missed a beat with training in the off-season. The Huskies will start the season with great conditioning levels due to their fitness maintenance. Returning junior Magnuson completed her 2012 season with the MSL Championship at No. 2 singles.

Coach's comment: "Last year Hersey finished in the 5/6 spot and it is a promising year to hope that we might finish in the top three," Meintzer said. "The outcome of the 2012 season was below our expectations but we had a young team working through their mental dilemmas and they have been ironed out for 2013."


Coach: Michael McColaugh

Last season: 7-6; fourth in MSL

Top players: Senior 2012 state qualifiers Lauren Saiki and Christine Santiago, sophomore Natalie Lysik and junior state qualifier Alexandra Gorodiski

Seniors lost: Two-time state qualifier no. 1 doubles player Katie Best

Outlook: McColaugh and the Knights were excited to qualify four members to the state tournament last season and were pleased about their fourth place finish in the MSL conference tournament. The Knights feel they need to work diligently to get to the next level in the MSL. They have a number of experienced players like Saiki, Santiago and Gorodiski that have had state tournament experience in 2012. Prospect displayed a fourth place MSL Tournament finish, and matched that number on the 2012 season for the overall standings.

Coach's comments: "We return four of our top five players from last year," McColaugh said. "We always look to our seniors (for leadership). Lauren Saiki has improved more in two years than any girl I've seen at Prospect in 12 years. Christina Santiago is in her third year on varsity and is a top notch athlete. (Seniors) Tori Bruno and Alex Wilson are good players that bring a ton of enthusiasm to our squad. Junior Paige Bennett, senior Jelena Ivanisevic and junior Lauren Becherer are up from the JV level, and have earned starting jobs with solid play thus far."

Rolling Meadows

Coach: Jim Gumz

Last season: 12-11 (3-2) tied for second in MSL East, third in the MSL overall, third in the MSL tournament

Top players: State qualifiers and 2012 sectional doubles champions Allie and Jackie Kemph, Erin Barry, Farha Ali and Caroline Czulno.

Seniors lost: Shannon Kulpins, Brittany Khayet, Meghan Horan, Amber Tenuta, Elizabeth Staffa and Sarah Bohac.

Outlook: With a young team, Rolling Meadows welcomes six new players on the varsity roster. Although their lineup isn't set yet, Coach Gumz enjoyed the attendance of their summer program to help them prepare for the season.

Coach's comments: "We look for our returning players to lead the way in helping our new players adjust to varsity tennis," Gumz said. "(Besides the Kemph sisters, Barry, Ali and Czulno), we are looking at seniors Chloe Prodanovic, Ariel Cantieri, Julia Dacy, Sarah Ali, Sue Sukhbaatar, juniors Paige Smith, Kaylie Campbell and sophomore Anisha Galla to contribute in our lineup."


Coach: Jim Christopher

Last season: 7-8 (1-4); Ninth/10th in Conference

Seniors lost: Aline Bardak, Emily Kalash and Sydney Clifford

Outlook: After a ninth/tenth finish in the 2012 conference tournament, Christopher liked what he saw as the Wildcats improved throughout the season. Wheeling's expectations are to finish with a record higher than .500 this season. Wheeling will see some athletes move up from the JV level this year with their progress this summer. More Wheeling players are getting some off-season experience, which Christopher feels will be more evident this season. Christopher would also like to see some of his players medal at the MSL tournament this season.

Coach's comments: "We replaced our top positions with new players," Christopher said. "They filled in with respectable seasons, something to build on this year. I think we've added some depth to our team which will add some inner-team competition. (This will) help strengthen us overall. We have an experienced group of seniors. I'm looking for them to take a positive role in molding our team."



Coach: Tracy Waters-Miller

Last season: 18-5; first in conference

Top players: Michelle Linden, Anna Donoghue, Allie Volk and Caroline Levy

Seniors lost: Three-time state qualifier Zoe Kasiurak and state qualifier Lucia Stumbras

Outlook: The Fillies enjoyed another successful season finishing first in the MSL in 2012. After losing state qualifiers Lucia Stumbras and Zoe Kasiurak to graduation, Barrington looks to their experience in upcoming players Linden, Donoghue, Volk, Nordli and Levy to lead the team by example and through their voice. Barrington hopes to keep pace with their first-place finishes for over a decade in the MSL. Underclassmen Addie Hirsch and Paige Broustis have been turning heads with their play in the early going.

Coach's comments : "(We hope) to be competitive in MSL conference and weekend (events) we need to improve every match," said Waters-Miller said. "(We look to) seniors Allie Volk and Kiersten Nordli for their leadership."


Coach: Dave Koleno

Last season: 8-5, 5-3 against MSL opponents; Seventh in MSL tournament.

Top players: Seniors Natalia Migdal, Krishna Patel, Monica Tawfic, Simrin Dhillon, Lydia Oh, freshmen Gaby Kaminski and Lisa Lin.

Seniors/players lost: 2012 state qualifiers Kano Jockish (Graduation), Aya Okuda (sophomore that moved back to Japan). Faith Meitzler, Vinutha Lakshminarayanan, Julia Gralcyzk, Sabika Haq and Ally Rajewski.

Outlook: In the 2012 season, Conant finished seventh in both the conference tournament and the final conference standings. Conant also turned heads in Koleno's very first season taking home the championship in the Schaumburg sectional in 2012. The Cougars saw a great turnout at summer camp and had a lot more girls competing for the top 11 positions this yea. Koleno feels they've improved in overall depth it should help them moving forward.

Coach's comments: "Natalia Migdal and Krishna Patel are our co-captains this year," Koleno said. "They have both been very active with our program and I couldn't ask for better role models for our younger players to learn from."


Coach: Lauren Hall

Last season: 13-6 (7-1); fourth in conference overall

Top players: 2012 state qualifier Amy Byrne, and doubles tandem Maggie Hanna and Allison Tomal.

Seniors lost: State qualifying duo Holly Kometer and Courtney Norenberg

Outlook: After finishing fourth place in the conference overall last year, Coach Hall looks to the continuation of emphasizing to the girls how important every conference match is for all positions. Hall was very happy with the amount of off-season training that the girls did to prepare for this upcoming season. Almost all student athletes were at the Fremd Tennis Camp over the summer.

Coach's comment: "I would like to be one of the top teams in the MSL and our sectional," Hall said. "I would also like to see more than one position qualify for the state series. The girls are always excited to compete and know the expectations of the program. It is just a matter of executing it on the court, and I am confident that they will."

Hoffman Estates

Coach: Greg Rouse

Last season: 3-11 (0-5); 12 in conference

Top players: Three-time state qualifier no. 1 singles player Courtney Lang

Seniors lost: No. 2 singles player Aubrey Van Buren

Outlook: Coach Rouse hopes to see more consistency as well as execution with the basic skill of tennis. Although the record didn't reflect it, Rouse felt that the team at the end of the 2012 season, the Hawks learned from their mistakes and gained much improvement.

Coach's comment: "I'm looking to (no. 3 singles player) Brianna Randecker to help lead the team," Rouse said. "(I want) Courtney Lang to help demonstrate consistent tennis strokes and I'm hoping the team will adopt (no. 3 doubles player) Parish Gray's work ethic. Gray is a senior who is playing tennis for the first time. She is a welcome addition to the team."


Coach: Rich Gutierrez

Last season: Eighth in MSL

Top players: Seniors Makenzie Campbell, Sabine Jacobsen, Alyssa La Capra, Karla Robles, and Katrina Steinma

Outlook: Palatine completed its 2012 season at .500 in terms of wins and losses. Returning to the 2012 varsity team are seniors Makenzie Campbell, Sabine Jacobsen, Alyssa La Capra, Karla Robles, and Katrina Steinma. Complementing them on the varsity roster are senior Nisha Tripathi, juniors Izzy Favela, Daria Zajac. Sophomores Cora Jacobsen, Hein Lai, and Gabby Wilson. Gutierrez feels that the experience of Campbell, Jacobsen, La Capra Robles and Steinma as returning varsity players will add some punch to their lineup.

Coach's comment: "With six girls playing without varsity experience it will be a challenging season but I believe we will have a successful year," Gutierrez said. "Last season we were fourth in the West and we are working hard to improve on (the 2012) results. We have terrific senior leadership and (Gutierrez and the Pirates) look forward to a winning season."


Coach: Jenn Kerr

Last season: 11th in MSL tournament

Top players: Senior Divya Singh, sophomore Wasinee Siewrichol, junior Ryan Shope and junior Maggie McClure.

Seniors lost: No. 1 singles player Katie McClure, No. 1 doubles team Luaren DeCarlo and Jordan Parris.

Outlook: Kerr felt good about the accomplishments the Saxons achieved in the 2012 season. She enjoyed the hard work and improvements the Saxons had with their play. Kerr looks at Singh to be Schaumburg's leader by her play and her voice.

Coach's comments: "After starting the season with only four tennis courts and with multiple cancellations because of the heat, our lineup is still undecided," Kerr said. "We have two freshmen, Nicole Zagorski and Hitha Uday, who are in the top six players on our team. They lack match experience but they are both talented enough to adapt quickly."


Maine West

Coach: Neal Sipkovsky

Last season: 7-13 (0-5); xixth in the CSL North

Top players: Ania Holubecki, Rachel Andersen, and Megan Bricks

Seniors lost: Aleksandra Gorski and Angelika Szczepanska

Outlook: The 2012 season went as expected according to Coach Sipkovsky. The Warriors' lineup only displayed two seniors on the roster, and Sipkovsky feels that Maine West was a bit young and inconsistent. However, the Warriors fully expect that the experience of their nine returning student athletes gained last year will pay dividends in 2013.

Coach's comment: "Outside of the few heavyweight conference opponents we're mandated to play, we expect to be embroiled in many close contests this year," Sipkovsky said. "The nonconference opponents and lower tier of the CSL North on our schedule are likely to produce many competitively balanced matchups. The degree of success our team claims largely rides on the outcomes of these meets. Our tri-captains are Ania Holubecki, Rachel Andersen, and Megan Bricks. They are asked to lead by example, both on the practice court and on game days."



Coach: Bob Smith

Last season: 3-3 in the WSC

Top players: Senior Becca Golden, junior Krist Monroy

Outlook: Leyden saw over 60 players come out for the team this season. IHSA Hall of Famer Bob Smith has been seeing a lot of position challenges this year. The Golden Eagles come into 2012 with more experience as they return seven-of-11 players. Smith hopes for the Golden Eagles to finish in the top thee slots of the WSC.

Coach's comments: "Downers Grove South has a tough team this year and Hinsdale (South) is a little down," said Smith. "Willowbrook gets stronger every year. We've been talking about strategy on points. I've been talking a bit more of strategy and mechanics in the off-season. We will have to see how the dynamic of playing other teams (in match play), because they are playing well against each other. It's different when you're in an actual match,"


St. Viator

Coach: Dan Tripamer

Top players: Junior Megan Balas, junior Bridget Finis and sophomore Nicole Panarese

Seniors lost: Vanessa Lopez

Outlook: The Lions saw a lot of players return from last season. As the 2012 had multiple underclassmen playing at the top slots in the lineup, the Lions have a similar approach this year. Juniors and sophomores are at the top positions this year. Tripamer hopes to see St. Viator play big points better. Tripamer looks to senior doubles team Anna Ptacin and Emily McManus to take the leadership role on the team this year. Tripamer likes the depth and competitive nature of his team this season.

Coach's comments: "I'm expecting good things this year," Tripamer said. "They have a lot of experience playing with each other, but we'll see how it transitions to the real match. I want them to have fun. I want them to love the game like I do so they can appreciate as a lifelong sport."

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