Girls tennis / State tournament scouting, Northwest
Where: Thursday through Saturday with action at all 12 Mid-Suburban League schools; Saturday's championship play at Buffalo Grove.
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State qualifiers: No. 1 doubles Addie Hirsch/Anna Donoghue, No. 1 singles Michelle Linden, No. 2 singles Caroline Levy.
Outlook: Barrington had a successful season again, notching a 19th consecutive MSL title and winning the Lake Park sectional. Linden eyes her second appearance in the state tournament and earned a 9-16 ranking; she had her first taste of the state tournament last season as a part of the doubles team with Zoe Kasiurak. Linden notched a sectional championship at Lake Park and repeated as No. 1 singles conference champion this year. Hirsch/Donoghue and Levy will enjoy their first trips to the tournament.
Coach's comment: "(The advice I give them) is to do what we have done well all season," said Barrington coach Tracy Waters-Miller. "Enjoy it! Take one point at a time."
State qualifiers: Seniors Jackie and Allie Kemph (28-3)
Outlook: In the twin tandem's third and final year at the state tournament, they earned a 17-32 seed. The Kemph sisters had a memorable season, taking home titles at the MSL tournament and Lake Park sectional. The duet posted a 12-2 record against doubles teams in the state tournament this year. This will be the final weekend that the two will play tennis together.
Coach's comment: "Basically we tell them to play positively and play the techniques we have taught in terms of doubles strategy," said Rolling Meadows coach Jim Gumz. "We're not going to play anything differently. We hope we play well and that's good enough. The biggest thing is to compete. Walk on the court and do the best you can do."
State qualifier: Courtney Lang (17-4)
Outlook: Lang is entering her fourth and final showing in the state tournament. She finished third in both the MSL tournament the Lake Park sectional. She has led the Hawks by example, and the Hoffman Estates program is grateful for her presence over the last four seasons.
Coach's comment: "She has improved steadily over the years," said Hoffman Estates coach Greg Rouse. "She has been a great motivator for the past four years. (She needs to prepare) by having consistency in her own game. Attack (the opponent's) weakness and take advantage of your own strength."
State qualifiers: Seniors Christina Santiago/Lauren Saiki
Record: 9-6 as doubles (Santiago played No. 2 singles for much of the season, while Saiki played No. 1 doubles with Alexandra Gorodiski)
Outlook: This will be the second state trip for Santiago and Saiki, but their first together in doubles. When they played at the Highland Park sectional, Saiki/Santiago defeated a Deerfield team 6-4, 6-1, and a scratch at the third/fourth match got the Prospect duo third place. Santiago/Saiki have played as a duo on numerous occasions during weekend tournaments druing the season.
Coach's comment: "Both are fantastic leaders, terrific students and have great personalities," said Prospect coach Mike McColaugh. "Saiki's game has improved more in two years than any kid I've been around, and Santiago is a clutch player who has raised her game a number of levels during the postseason. I'm so proud of our entire team, and these two in particular."
State qualifiers: Doubles Allison Tomal/Maggie Hanna (17-16) and Alice Zhang/Caroline Freeman (27-6).
Outlook: Tomal/Hanna worked hard in the off-season in order to make themselves the No. 1 doubles team. In 2012 season, they just missed playing in the state tournament. Zhang and Freeman have been a model of consistency and gave coach Lauren Hall a thrill by qualifying to state.
Coach's comment: "Allison Tomal has been a great leader for our team on and off the court," Hall said. "(Tomal) is the team's biggest cheerleader during close matches and has made sure to be the leader in organizing team bonding events. When qualifying for state it is a great accomplishment but that means that the level of play will be that much more competitive."
State qualifier: Freshman Jelena Vujanic (26-6)
Outlook: Vujanic has had an extremely successful freshman season, netting second-place honors at the MSL and sectionals tournaments. She's the first time Elk Grove player since 2001 to earn a spot in the state field.
Coach's comments: "Jelena is preparing for state by playing as much tennis as she can this week," said Elk Grove coach Kristen Fisher. "She is focusing on the serve, hitting with more topspin and footwork. She is by far the most dedicated player I have ever coached and is mentally very tough. My advice is to not be intimidated by playing a seeded player, and go out there and play her best tennis. That's all you can ever do. I want Jelena to walk off the court saying, 'Coach, I played my best and gave it my all!'"
State qualifiers: No. 1 singles Sara Magnuson; No. 2 singles Ana Karpetiani.
Outlook: The Huskies singles standouts worked hard all season to get to this point. Magnuson, a junior, earned a third-place sectional and MSL finish. Karpetiani, a freshman, has matured quickly after starting the season at No. 3 singles.
-- Jonathan Jones