Girls tennis: Scouting Fox Valley

By Dave Hess
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 8/21/2019 9:36 PM

St. Charles East's 12th-year coach Matt Bulman has every reason for optimism.

His 2019 Saints are loaded with talent.


With the return of 3-year varsity performers Claudia Field, Jamie McDermott, and Elena Malone along with St. Charles North junior transfer Emiara Saini, Bulman is seeking a DuKane Conference championship and hoping for a sectional title with several state qualifiers.

"Truthfully this is one of the most talented teams I have had the pleasure to coach in 12 years," said Bulman. "The kids have worked hard and I am looking forward to a fun season. We have high expectations for the season."

Bulman will complete his lineup with returnees junior Megan Conroy and sophomore Caroline Donati.

Batavia, 5-2 in conference action a year ago, is hoping to challenge the Saints for the DuKane title.

Three-year varsity performers Madison Ostrander (hampered by foot injury in 2018), Morgan Steinys and No. 3 conference singles champ Hailey Flanagan (18-3) form a solid singles nucleus for the Bulldogs. The DuKane champion No. 4 doubles team of junior Katie Connolly and sophomore Bella Lins return and seek a repeat conference title.

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"Madison seems healthy and ready to go and we are looking forward to sending off our great group of seniors with a conference title," said Nelson. "It is a very talented group."

St. Charles North first year coach Megan Gow is hoping to be respectable in the strong DuKane conference.

Seniors Ava Victor and Claire Kloberdanz, along with juniors Leia Papnichlas and McKenna Lievrous and sophomores Sherya Gustafson and Daniella Giacopelli, form a solid nucleus.

Geneva coach Zach Evans said he has good experience on the team led by seniors Emma Henderson and Alex Cappelli.

The Fox Valley Conference in 2019 figures to be filled with talented teams and individuals.

Jacobs, the 2018 FVC regular season champs, graduated six solid seniors but have a solid core back to challenge for the FVC crown.

The top returning player is senior Lindsay Cunningham, a state qualifier in singles a year ago.


"Lindsay Cunningham is the heart of our success off and on the court," said Jacobs coach Jon Betts. "We graduated a substantial amount of our 2018 lineup but have some solid kids back. We will be very young and talented."

The sophomore duo of Kaya Trumbo and Isha DeSai return as FVC No. 2 doubles champs.

Also returning is senior singles player Lindsey Taylor.

The Golden Eagles' quest for a FVC title will be challenged by Cary-Grove.

The Trojans look especially strong in doubles play. Seniors Alina Krembuszewski and Karina Los and the team of Grace O' Malley and Olivia Schladt give the Trojans tremendous experience at the top of the doubles lineup.

Seniors Julia Pietrzyk and Jenna Briggs also have doubles experience.

Seniors Jazzy Flashing and Kaitlin Warner will form the Trojans' No. 1 and 2 singles teams.

"We have a lot of experienced seniors," said second-year coach Therese Youel. "We want to compete and vie for a championship in the FVC and again qualify several kids for the state meet."

Huntley, second in the FVC a year ago, hopes to move up a place in the conference standings.

Barry Wells' 2019 troops are paced by sophomore phenom Ruhi Gulati who qualified for the state Class 2A meet a year ago.

Joining Gulati in the Red Raiders' lineup are senior Meghan Fenske, junior Michelle Barnvos and sophomore Kylie Phommasack.

"Ruhi had a great freshman year and we hope she can build on that as a sophomore," said Wells. "We have several good young players and we have some depth."

Hoping to join upper echelon of the FVC is Crystal Lake South.

Second-year coach Amanda Schueltze welcomes back twin daughters Hannah and Sarah along with junior Anna Chang and sophomore Lizzy Sudbrook.

"We are hoping to establish a competitive cohesive group," said Amanda Schueltze. "We are looking to improve every season."

Second-year Hampshire coach Dylan Clark has a solid core of 4 returning players. Seniors Kaylee Patthana and Paloma Hamilton along with juniors Shannon Lukaszuk and Anika Patel are back for the Whip-Purs.

"The Fox Valley Conference is very strong," said Clark. "We hope to be competitive and climb into the top half.""

West Aurora three-year varsity performers Brianna Lindstrom, Lori Silva and Taylor Wyeth along with junior Morgan Glatzhofer return.

"The new conference will be different for us and a challenge," said West Aurora coach Bruce Fraser. "They are some outstanding individuals and teams. We will do our best to compete."

Fox Valley girls tennis at a glance

Top teams: St. Charles East, Batavia, West Aurora, Kaneland, Cary-Grove, Huntley, Jacobs

Top players: Lindsay Anderson, Elgin, sr.; Alex Cappelli, Geneva, sr.; Lindsay Cunningham, Jacobs, sr,; Isha Desai, Jacobs, so.; Emily Duvall, Rosary, jr.; Hailey Flanagan, Batavia, sr.; Claudia Field, St. Charles East, sr.; Ashley Gordon, Elgin Academy, sr.; Ruhi Gulati, Huntley, so.; Alaina Krembuszewski, Cary-Grove, sr.; Emma Henderson, Geneva, sr; Briana Lindstrom, West Aurora, sr.; Karina Los, Cary-Grove, sr.; Shannon Lukaszuk, Hampshire, jr.; Elena Malone, St. Charles East, sr.; Jamie McDermott, St. Charles East, sr.; Amelia Mukenschnabel, Aurora Central Catholic, sr.; Grace O' Malley, Cary-Grove, sr.; Madison Ostrander, Batavia, sr.; Emaira Saini, St. Charles East, jr.; Olivia Schladt, Cary-Grove, sr.; Piper Schrepferman, Kaneland, jr.; Arohi Singh, Illinois Math and Science Academy, sr.; Kaya Trumbo, Jacobs, so.; Ava Victor, St. Charles North, sr.; Madison Waichunas, South Elgin.

Season skinny: With transfer Emiara Saini along with 3-year varsity performers Claudia Field, Elena Melone and Jamie McDermottt returning, St. Charles East coach Matt Bulman believes his team has the talent to win the DuKane Conference. Batavia, led by veteran coach Brad Nelson and senior Kelsey Flanagan, is hoping to challenge the Saints for the conference title. Jacobs, Huntley and Cary-Grove should all be in the hunt for the Fox Valley Conference championship. Jacobs, guided by 16th-year coach Jon Betts, will lean on senior No. 1 singles player Lindsay Cunningham for leadership. Sophomores Isha Desai and Kaya Trumbo were FVC champs at No. 2 doubles as freshmen. Huntley is paced by talented sophomore Ruhi Gulati who qualified for the Class 2A state tournament a year ago. Senior Meghan Fenske, junior Michelle Barnvos and sophomore Kylie Phommasack are key returnees for coach Barry Wells' troops. Second-year Cary-Grove coach Therese Youel returns seniors Alina Krembuszewsski and Karina Los at No. 1 doubles while Olivia Schladt and Grace O'Malley are back to form a solid duo at No. 2 doubles. West Aurora is hoping its maiden voyage in the Southwest Prairie will be a successful one. Seniors Briana Lindstrom, Lori Silva, Taylor Wyeth and junior Morgan Glatzhofer return. Like West Aurora, Kaneland, fourth in the state in 1A, joins a new conference for the 2019-2020 season. Kaneland moves to the Interstate Eight. The Knights will be paced by singles players junior Piper Schrepferman, who was plagued by injuries in 2018 and sophomore Evie Taylor. "We want to compete for the conference championship and do well in the sectionals and state meet," said Kaneland coach Tim Larsen. "We certainly have the talent to do so." Streamwood, Bartlett, Elgin, South Elgin and Larkin hope to climb the ladder in the Upstate Eight. Bartlett is paced by sophomore Victoria Grzywaczewski while Larkin is pining its hopes on senior Alitza Munoz. Seniors Lindsay Anderson and Elizabeth Wyn are 3-year performers for Elgin while Madison Waichunas begins her fourth year on the varsity for South Elgin. Seniors Olivia Deem, Jennifer Ketdy, Ally Potty and Caroline Thompson give the Storm veteran leadership. Aurora Central Catholic senior Amelia Mukenschnabel is the defending Metro Suburban Blue No. 1 singles champion while IMSA senior Arohi Singh was a state qualifier in Class 1A a year ago.

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