Priscilla Palermo is a talent that comes to the Glenbard East girls tennis program only about once in a decade -- a freshman player who can be slotted into the first-singles position to lead the team for four years.
On Tuesday Palermo utilized her outstanding quickness and a seemingly limitless arsenal of shots to win 6-0, 6-0 to lead the Rams (6-2, 2-1) to a 6-1 win over visiting DuPage Valley Conference rival Glenbard North.
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"I just got my shots in today," Palermo said. "I played well defensively and I went for the attack shots when they were there."
Glenbard East coach Bill Burt is impressed by the abilities and the attitude that Palermo brings to the team.
"She's lightning quick, she's got the experience of an upperclassman," Burt said about Palermo, who has been playing USTA tournaments for years and carries the No. 287 national ranking in her age group. "She's unflappable, competitive as all get-out and she wants to find a way to beat whomever she's playing that day. She's patient when she needs to be patient and she knows when to go for winners."
The Rams' entire team has been performing well in both singles and doubles with Palermo at the top of the lineup.
"When you have a first-singles person who's going to win 75 percent of the time," Burt said, "all you have to do is play the other team even in the other six matches to win the meet. With first singles taken care of, everyone else fits very comfortably in their positions."
In addition to her phenomenal ability, Palermo was praised by her coach for being a good teammate, as well.
"She knows how to be a good practice partner," he said. "She's poised beyond her years and she's helping the other girls get better. In fact this whole team works well together, which makes it easier for us to just concentrate on tennis."
As for Palermo, she's having a blast being a member of a high school team.
"As a team we do a lot of bonding and socializing," she said. "The other girls have been great to me, very welcoming. They never treated me like the freshman outsider."
The Rams' Angela Kerndl and Jenny Danan-Cudia won their singles matches in two sets, and second-doubles Mary Kurtz and Nicki Vachlon also won in two sets.
The Panthers (4-5, 0-3) scored their only victory at fourth doubles, a three-set win by Tasia Collins and Carolina Jaszkowski 6-4, 1-6, 7-6 (7-5)
"As a team we did a pretty good job at the net poaching and putting the ball away," said Glenbard North coach Carolyn O'Donnell. "We need some work on our groundstrokes. But I have to give our girls credit. They fought hard to the end against a very good Glenbard East Team. Our first and third doubles played tough before losing their matches in three sets."