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updated: 9/4/2014 7:31 PM

Girls tennis / Scouting Northwest

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  • Barrington's Michelle Linden competes against Elk Grove Village's Jelena Vujanic at No. 1 singles in last season's MSL tournament at Rolling Meadows. Both players return for their teams this fall.

      Barrington's Michelle Linden competes against Elk Grove Village's Jelena Vujanic at No. 1 singles in last season's MSL tournament at Rolling Meadows. Both players return for their teams this fall.
    George LeClaire | Staff Photographer

By Jonathan Jones
Daily Herald Correspondent

MID-SUBURBAN WESTBarrington Coach: Tracy Waters-Miller

2013 record: 16-6, 5-0

Outlook: Barrington kept its streak alive in 2013, posting a 19th straight MSL title. In addition to their conference success, the Fillies registered a title in the Lake Park sectional. Barrington returns all state qualifiers from that group this fall, including junior Michelle Linden, senior Caroline Levy, Anna Donoghue and Paige Broustis. Barrington looks to freshmen players Nidhi Jha, Sara Amato and Hanna Park to provide an instant impact. Linden notched five wins in the 2013 state tournament, finishing in the consolation quarterfinals, while Levy and Donoghue/Hirsch recorded two wins at state.

Top players: Michelle Linden, Caroline Levy, Anna Donoghue and Addie Hirsch

Seniors Lost: Alli Vlk

Coach's Comment: "(Our goal is) to play every match the best that we can," said Barrington coach Tracy Waters-Miller. "We (need to) close out the points. We (cannot) give away points with unforced errors."

Fremd Coach: Lauren Hall

2013 record: 10-4 (6-2)

Outlook: The Vikings took second place in conference and sectional in 2013. Summer training camp has really helped Fremd in development this year. The Vikings return with five seniors in their lineup with at least two years of experience. Maggie Hanna (with partner Allison Tomal) and Caroline Freeman/Alice Zhang qualified for the state tournament in 2013. The three look to build on their success from the prior season as they both notched two wins in the state tournament. The goal of the Vikings is to be at the top of the conference and continue their presence in the sectional and state tournaments. Fremd welcomes three freshmen to the varsity program.

Top players: Maggie Hanna, Caroline Freeman, Alice Zhang, Kate Randall and Jenna Kurtzwell

Seniors lost: Amy Byrne, Allison Tomal and Kelly Dudar.

Coach's comment: "I am really excited for this season," said Fremd coach Lauren Hall. "The girls are really motivated to continue to stay at the top for conference. We have five seniors that have already shown leadership in our practices and will continue to encourage everyone throughout the season.

"From last year, I thought that the girls did a great job of winning close matches. During practice, we will continue to work on high-pressure situations, so that the team feels ready when it comes to the match."

Conant Coach: Dave Koleno

2013 record: 8-4

Outlook: Conant will display seven new starters for the varsity roster in 2014. The Cougars' no. 2 singles player, Gaby Kaminski, will return in 2014 after finishing in fourth place in the MSL tournament. Conant also returns Haley Anderson (No. 3 doubles in 2013) and the No. 4 doubles team of Priya Gumpta and Katelynn Goron. The Cougars posted a fifth-place finish in the conference last year.

Top players: Gaby Kaminski, Haley Anderson, Priya Gumpta and Katelynn Goron.

Seniors lost: Natalia Migdal, Krishna Patel, Monica Tawfic, Simrin Dhillon, Lydia Oh and Marisa Schwichtenberg.

Players lost: Sophomore Lisa Lin (Transferred to Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy in Aurora)

Coach's comment: "I was pleased with our play (in 2013), but more excited about our team's consistency and dedication," said Conant coach Dave Koleno. "We had the same exact lineup for every single meet. Not one girl missed a match all season long. I am hoping this year's squad continues with that level of commitment to the program."

Palatine Coach: Dino Trinh

Outlook: Dino Trinh has taken over the responsibilities as head coach, as Rich Gutierrez stepped down. As the new coach of the Pirates, Trinh's goal is to have his Nos. 1 and 2 singles players and his first doubles team to qualify for the state tournament. The Pirates finished fourth in the MSL West during the regular season and eighth in the conference meet. The team will be young, as six players from last season have graduated.

Top players: Hien Lai, Cora Jacobsen, Sam Nelson, Gabi Wilson and Asuk Kawai, Coach's Quote: "I am looking for the single players to reduce their double faults and for the double players to move better as a team," Trinh said. "I want to thank former head coach Rich Gutierrez for giving me the opportunity to coach at Palatine High School. I am also very excited to have two seasoned coaches returning to coach the lower levels: Robert Carroll and Dennis Zhandi."

Schaumburg Coach: Curtis Goodwin

Outlook: Jenn Kerr stepped down and passed the reigns to Goodwin, who spoke positively of the regime change as Kerr and Jason Campbell (the coach preceding Kerr) assisted him in the process. Summer training was a success for Schaumburg as more than two-thirds came to prepare for the season. To help the transition, Schaumburg has five returning seniors to the lineup.

Top players: Seniors Ryan Shope, Maggie McClure, Susmitha Chinne, Alexanderia Ness and Amber Borst.

Coach's comment: "We know where we finished (in 2013) and we have a good outline established," Goodwin said. "We need to improve every match. The girls are doing a great job of really grabbing my philosophy, mixed with the staff from before. The girls are showing a lot of commitment and I'm proud of that. We have some good young talent."

MID-SUBURBAN EASTBuffalo Grove Coach: Kevin Schrammel

2013 record: 10-4

Outlook: The Bison have placed in the top three slots of the MSL for nearly a decade straight. In 2013, they continued that trend by finishing third at the MSL tournament. Buffalo Grove lost its No.1 one doubles team and Nos. 1/2 singles players to graduation, but the seniors this fall will provide the leadership necessary for the Bison to succeed. Buffalo Grove's top priority is to win the MSL East.

Top players: Senior Anna Klipstein, freshman Dasha Ignatova and Anna Sandler

Seniors lost: Rachel Gross, Julia Zduncyzk and Allison Flack.

Coach's comment: "Our girls ended the season having come up short of their goal (an MSL East title)," said Buffalo Grove coach Kevin Schrammel. "They are hungry for a chance to get it back. With new faces and new positions every year, it is always a process of learning to play new positions and with their new partners."

Rolling Meadows Coach: Jim Gumz

2013 record: 6-12 (2-3)

Outlook: The Mustangs finished in seventh overall in conference. Rolling Meadows coach Jim Gumz hopes to see improvement throughout the season, as only three players are returning to the Mustangs' roster from the previous campaign. Despite a lack of experience, the Mustangs have shown a lot of commitment in summer tennis camp, and the program has 40 students on board for the fall campaign. Rolling Meadows lost conference and sectional champions (and three-year state qualifying doubles team) Jackie and Allie Kemph to graduation.

Top players: Caroline Czulno, Kaylee Campbell and Paige Smith.

Seniors lost: Jackie and Allie Kemph, Erin Barry, Farha and Sarah Ali, Julia Dacy, Ariel Cantieri and Chloe Prodanovic.

Coach's comment: "Our goal this year is to see improvement from a young team throughout the season so that we are playing our best tennis at the time of the conference meet," Gumz said. "With eight new players on the varsity, we need to solidify our lineup and see who is best suited to play singles. Also (we must) decide what our best combinations in doubles will be this year."

Hersey Coach: Sharon Meintzer

2013 record: 14-4 (7-2)

Outlook: The Huskies return two state qualifiers in Sara Magnuson and Ana Karpetiani. Hersey coach Sharon Meintzer hopes to have her entire team improve on strategy throughout each match. The Huskies netted a first-place finish in the MSL East last fall.

Top players: Sara Magnuson, Ana Karpetiani and Elizabeth Niersbach

Coach's comment: "Our newcomers will add strength and stability to this team to provide for many lineup options. (The new lineup will provide) team success, but it will take this year's motto to solidify our goals: 'Hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work hard.' "

Elk Grove Coach: Kristen Fisher

Outlook: Elk Grove graduated 8 of 11 players from last year's squad. But No. 1 singles player Jelena Vujanic returns to the Grenadiers after a second-place finish in the MSL, a second-place finish at sectional and a state tournament berth, where she won two matches. The goal for Elk Grove, according to coach Fisher, is to end the season with a higher slot in the MSL.

Top players: Sophomore Jelena Vujanic, senior Sarah Rendel, junior Sanae Kato, freshman Ashley Szull.

Seniors lost: Sammie Marquardt, Shizuka Kato, Marisha Achanzar, Jamie Langford, Tina Pizzo, Crystel Grinen, Neha Patel, Priyal Patel, Sami Smilkova and Romee Desai

Coach's comment: "The girls are doing a better job of being reflective after their match," Fisher said. " We need to learn from our mistakes, focus on our strengths and improve on our matches. Every match is a new learning experience."

Prospect Coach: Michael McCollaugh

2013 record: 9-6

Outlook: After a fifth-place finish in the MSL, Prospect loses two two-time state qualifiers in Christina Santiago and Lauren Saiki. The Knights will feature seven new players in their lineup and the main focus of coach McCollaugh is to have his team focus on how to win points at the varsity level. The Knights' No. 1 doubles player, Alexandra Gorodiski, is a returning state qualifier.

Top players: Senior Alexandra Gorodiski, junior Natalie Lysik, seniors Paige Bennett and Lauren Becherer

Coach's comment: "First, we are looking to get a lot of match experience for our new varsity players and keep trying to get better as competitors," McCollaugh said. "We are looking to continue to improve throughout the season, and play our best down the stretch (conference and sectionals)."


Coach: Jim Christopher

Outlook: Wheeling lost many of the seniors in their lineup. The Wildcats have a young team and hope to fine-tune skill and gain experience during the season.

Coach's comment: "We're pretty young this year," Christopher said. "We need to gain a lot of experience and grow as the season goes on. We have a nice group of girls to work with. It would be nice to go at least 2-3 in the division, as we did last year."

WEST SUBURBAN GOLDLeyden Coach: Bob Smith

Outlook: Leyden has gained more experience heading into the new season and features five returning competitors. Leyden finished in fifth in the league last year, and the goal for coach Bob Smith is to finish in the top three this time around. The turnout for summer training was well attended, according to Smith, and he feels that improvements were made to their game with the extra practice. Leyden welcomes United States Tennis Association (USTA) player Jessica Minkov at No. 1 singles.

Top players: Senior Krist Monroy, Ingrid Acevedo, freshman Jessica Minkov and junior Mariela Salgado.

Coach's comment: "We have some good players coming back and adding to line-up with (Minkov) at no. 1 (singles) who plays off season USTA." Smith said. "Our team captain, Kris Monroy, has been showing great leadership. All the rest of the players on varsity played on the team last year in JV 1."

CENTRAL SUBURBAN NORTHMaine West Coach: John Bongiorno

Outlook: In the competitive CSL North, Maine West plays against many of the top tier teams in the state, such as Highland Park and Glenbrook North. Maine West has John Bongiorno taking over coaching duties after Neal Sipkovsky stepped down. Bongiorno, who also coaches varsity basketball, sees some inexperience in his players, but also notes the opportunity for growth in each match.

Top players: Jasmina Rekic, Alma Rekic and Eunice Projillo

Coach's comment: "We're inconsistent, but the girls are working hard," Bongiorno said. "I appreciate the effort and the commitment they put into practice and matches. When we start a winning environment, some will grow into the leadership role. If you breed success, you'll start feeling more confident in your game."

EAST SUBURBAN CATHOLICSt. ViatorCoach: Alex Bocian

Outlook: After finishing seventh in the ESCC, Dan Tripamer handed over the coaching reins to Alex Bocian. Bocian, who is also the the boy's tennis coach is happy with his team's performance to this point in the season. In the Jacobs Invite, took sixth place overall in the weekend tournament (including a first-place finish by freshman No. 2 singles player Patricia Didon). Bocian looks to his five seniors to take the leadership role.

Top players: Senior Megan Balas, senior Sabina Raslawski and freshman Patricia Didon

Coach's comment: "We want to improve on where we finished last year (in conference)," Bocian said. "We're looking forward to this season. We have a lot of talent. They're ready to work hard. A lot of the seniors know that this is their last chance. The girls are definitely working hard and want to move up from where we were last year to get a strong finish."

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