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updated: 9/4/2014 11:08 AM

Girls tennis: Scouting the Fox Valley

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  • Jacobs' Ashley Kosy returns a volley during the Huntley girls tennis sectional last season.

       Jacobs' Ashley Kosy returns a volley during the Huntley girls tennis sectional last season.
    Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

 
By Cameron LaFerle
claferle@dailyherald.com

Bartlett HawksCoach: Kari Klein

Conference: UEC Valley

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Top returning athletes: Rachel Fern (Sr. Doubles), Jixi Lederer (Sr. Doubles), Bianca Dizon (Jr. Doubles), Lexi Stevens (Sr. Doubles), Hannah Kolano (Jr. Singles)

Season Outlook: After losing two of the most successful players in program history in state finalists Jen Gates and Gabby Gregorio, the Hawks have a big hole to fill coming into the 2014 season. Second-year coach Klein, however, is confident that her team cannot only be competitive in a tough Upstate Eight, but also get back down to state as well with new No. 1 doubles partners Fenn and Lederer, both seniors. "Both (girls) have been training hard this year with their eye on state," Klein said of her new duo. The Hawks will compete against tough opponents both in and out of conference, a challenge Klein is ready to face. "We welcome the tough competition. The only way to progress in our game is to play against highly skilled teams," she said.

Cary-Grove TrojansCoach: Laurie Bender

Conference: Fox Valley Valley

2013 record: 12-11 (6-7 FVC)

Top returning athletes: Sanjana Rao (So,), Ali Sturtecky (Sr.), Rachel Langner (Sr.) Tori Baranowski (Jr.), Lauren Betz (Jr.)

Season Outlook: Finishing with a record over .500 overall and a game under in conference, the Trojans are looking to remain competitive in a tough FVC. They lost 7 girls to graduation but also return 9, including 6 seniors and a sophomore, Rao, to help build up depth and add a veteran presence. Second-year coach Bender is looking forward to seeing what her girls can do as a team with no real standouts on the team just yet. "We have some very good tennis players but no superstars," Bender said. "We will be a competitive team. Our team goal will be to play each match to the best of our ability."

Dundee-Crown ChargersCoach: Stephanie McClure

Conference: Fox Valley Valley

2013 record: 3-15 (2-11 FVC)

Top returning athletes: Camille Knapik Balch (Sr.), Danielle Pautz (Sr.), Christiane Johnson (Sr.), Samantha Angarola (Jr.), Kendall Johnson (So.)

Season Outlook: After a less than stellar 2013 season, the Chargers are looking to get better thanks 18 players returning to the program, including 16 upperclassmen. The Chargers will also bring in 16 new additions to the program as well, filling out the rest of their levels and adding depth to a veteran team. With all of the new recruits and depth, second-year coach McClure is looking forward to a bounce back year out of her squad. "We are really looking forward to the season," McClure said. "With a great turnout this year it's exciting to see our program grow and become more competitive."

Elgin Academy HilltoppersCoach: Greg Repede

Conference: Independent School League

2013 record: 11-17

Top returning athletes: Kayla Schwan (Sr. Doubles), Emma May (Sr. Doubles)

Season Outlook: Graduating 7 girls last year, the Hilltoppers lost talent all across the board but have gained several new additions including Danielle Mastricola (Sr.) and Laura Masnato (Jr.) as the No. 2 doubles team. The Hilltoppers will also gain back returning state finalist Schwan teaming her with May for No. 1 doubles after Schwan lost her state finalist partner Jordan Yavari to graduation. "Our numbers are good and we have some enthusiastic, if not experienced, new players," 10th-year head coach Repede said. "Kayla and Jordan reached the state finals last year, and this year we are teaming her with Emma, a pairing that could be pretty strong."

Hampshire Whip-PursCoach: Bill Jepsen

Conference: Fox Valley Fox

Top returning athletes: Hannah Hougland (Jr.), Julie Schreiner (Sr.)

Season Outlook: On a team that is "loaded with seniors" according to second-year coach Jepsen, the Whip-Purs are looking to continue to build a contender every year. Hougland and Schreiner are both returning after successful seasons and incoming freshman Katelyn Patthana will add depth to a roster that is looking for good doubles play from up and down the roster. "We have a great group of girls, we are excited to see what they can do coming back after last year," Jepsen said.

Huntley Red RaidersCoach: Barry Wells

Conference: Fox Valley Valley

2013 record: 15-4, 5th in conference

Top returning athletes: Camille Viloria

Season Outlook: Back-to-back 15-win seasons and a doubles win at their own sectional ended a good year for the Red Raiders and 9th-year head coach Wells. But they also graduated 10 of their 11 varsity starters with Viloria, meaning that, in the words of Wells, "It may take a little time for them to adjust to the higher level of competition." That competition will be even tougher because of the talent in the FVC, with Wells saying that two of the top schools in the conference are regular rivals. "Both Jacobs and Prairie Ridge are very tough, but I'm excited for (my team) to get experience and to have the opportunity to prove what they can accomplish."

Jacobs Golden EaglesCoach: Jon Betts

Conference: Fox Valley Valley

2013 record: 31-8 (11-2 FVC, Huntley sectional champion)

Top returning athletes: Morgan Vachio (Sr. Doubles), Sara Elliott (Sr. Doubles), Hannah Jackowski (Sr. Doubles), Chole Moders (Sr. Doubles), Ashley Kosy (Jr. Singles)

Season Outlook: With 74 players in the program and only two levels, talent can be found up and down for a Golden Eagles team that qualified for state last season despite also graduating 16 seniors from last year. Vachio, who was part of the no. 1 doubles team last year, returns as does no. 1 singles and State qualifier Kosy but most of the positions are up in the air according to 10-year coach Betts. "We are going to look to many new players to fill important positions throughout the lineup. We've put in a tremendous amount of work preparing for the season, and we're looking forward to see how we stack up against the best in the area."

South Elgin StormCoach: Melissa Tuftedal

Conference: UEC Valley

Top returning athletes: Corinne Hildebrandt (Jr.), Michelle Lopez (Sr.), Josie Seykota (Sr.), Jordane Waichunas (Sr.)

Season Outlook: Even after losing a state qualifier in Fiona McCullough, the Storm return with a veteran team hungry to compete in the UEC and make it back down to state. Lopez, Seykota and Waichunas are all returning seniors, and while Hildebrandt is only a junior, she is looking for her second trip downstate in two years. After nine years as coach, Tuftedal has seen the Storm grow into a power in both conference and area. "We have hardworking girls that will always give their best," Tuftedal said. "Neuqua, Metea and Waubonsie Valley will all be tough in our conference but we are improving all the time."

Streamwood SabresCoach: Jeffery Szukala

Conference: UEC River

Top athletes: Alaina Kanthaphixay (Fr. Singles)

Season Outlook: With a young team playing in a deep conference, the Sabres could be in for a building year as their players continue to grow and learn at the varsity level. But as first-year coach Szukala has seen first hand there can still be plenty of excitement on the court from a young team. Kanthapixay is a freshman that has come in and is performing well at the varsity level and will look to help keep the Sabres competitive all year. "We have a young, but competitive team facing good teams like St. Charles East and North," Szukala said.

Elgin, Larkin and Crystal Lake South did not report complete information for this preview.

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