Girls tennis: Cook County and Lake County season preview

  • Stevenson's Sarah Wang returns a shot during her victory at last year's Class 2A state singles championship match at Buffalo Grove. Wang went 30-1 last year for the Patriots, who finished second as a team at the state tourney.

      Stevenson's Sarah Wang returns a shot during her victory at last year's Class 2A state singles championship match at Buffalo Grove. Wang went 30-1 last year for the Patriots, who finished second as a team at the state tourney. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

  • Sruthi Sundar is a returning state qualifier at Conant.

      Sruthi Sundar is a returning state qualifier at Conant. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Fremd's Alina Shyani won the 2020 MSL championship.

      Fremd's Alina Shyani won the 2020 MSL championship. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

  • Carmel's Mary Titterton is a returning state qualifier.

      Carmel's Mary Titterton is a returning state qualifier. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

 
By Dave Hess
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 8/30/2022 9:39 PM

Here's a look at some of the storylines for the girls tennis season in Cook and Lake County.

Antioch returns four seniors: Mia Kaiser, Elle Ipsen, Mackenzie Carley and Paige Wilson.

 

"Those four will be the top part of our lineup across the board," said Antioch coach Jamie D Andrea.

Barrington certainly enjoyed a successful 2021 season. The Fillies won the Mid Suburban League, the Jacobs sectional and finished 10th at the Class 2A state tournament.

Coach Heather Graham returns state qualifiers seniors Emily Yoon and Olivia Paik and sophomore Caitlin Kavanaugh.

"We want to finish Top 10 in the state and qualify all six players to the state meet, " said Graham.

Buffalo Grove, which finished tied for second in the MSL East with Hersey and Rolling Meadows, returns senior Valeria Konochik, junior Maya Belorussky and sophomores Kyra Whitson and Hanna Boehm.

Carmel returns senior state qualifiers Mary Titterton and Emily Fix.

Conant sophomore Katie Strilich enjoyed an exciting and rewarding freshman season. She was the MSL singles champion and finished in the top 24 in the state in Class 2A. Senior Sruthi Sundar returns as a state qualifier. As a team, the Cougars were third in the MSL and second in the sectionals.

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"We have a great loss of experience so we need growth and sustained grit," said Conant coach Matthew Marks. "We are looking to qualify as many players as possible for the state tournament."

Fremd will rely on junior Alina Shyani who won the 2020 MSL championship.

Grant returns senior state qualifier Eliska Rasborschek. Seniors Gabriella Bienarz and Lucy Lee and sophomore Angelina Vavale also return.

"Eliska is one of the top players in the conference," said Grant coach Max Boton.

Grayslake Central returns four conference champions. They are Jenna Groark, Sophia Schley, Madison Hoffman and Katie Wondrasek.

"We want to win conference and qualify as many players for state," said coach Charles Lawson.

Grayslake North coach Allison Szramek welcomes back seniors Isabella Moran and Elyse Gawerecki.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"We need to remain disciplined and focused," said Szramek. "We need to fight for every point in every match."

Hoffman Estates coach Kenneth Harris welcomes back seniors Ivana Stefanova and Samrita Vinu, and juniors Holika Nanna and Melissa Lin.

Lakes returns seniors Katie Sarver, Nayomi Latko, Kendall Rung and Sienna Steinke.

Sophomore Katrine Boianov, a 2A sectional champ a year ago, leads Lake Zurich into the 2022 season.

LZ also welcomes back seniors Tiffany Rogus, Liz Carroll and Erica Brenner along with sophomores Summer and Tessa Fabsik and Jane Langefeld.

"We want our seniors to advance through the sectionals and experience the state tournament," said Lake Zurich coach Andrew McCurley.

Leyden coach Joe Hamilton welcomes back six players with varsity experience. They include seniors Monica Guzman, Camilla Hernandez, Natalia Tafolla Valencia and Azul Rios along with juniors Samantha Almazan and Evain Rubon.

Libertyville, seventh in 2A a year ago, returns one of the top players in the state in senior Maggie Forkner. She placed sixth in singles in 2021.

Sophomore Lena Dogadelski was in the top 16 in 2A a year ago. Junior Hadley Warren was a state qualifier.

Senior Eva Zaskowski, a Top 12 finisher in doubles a year, returns along with fellow seniors Laura Milewska and Madeline Pankratz for Maine South. Junior Amelia Stanek and sophomore Charlotte Hornung also are back for the Hawks while freshman Erin Raseta hopes to the break into the lineup.

Maine South enjoyed a stellar 2021 campaign with a fourth-place finish in sectionals and 23rd place effort at the Class 2A state tourney.

"We want to work hard every day and improve every day," said Maine South coach Gerald Smith.

Maine West is paced by 2-time Class 2A sectional qualifier junior Lilliam Dockal. Junior Emily Halut also returns for the Warriors.

"We need to work on mental toughness," said Maine West coach Tricia Detig. "We will have some shifts in the lineup."

Derek Gablenz, who coached Barrington to a sixth-place finish in the state in 2003, is back coaching Mundelein.

Gablenz's team will be led by seniors Leila Moon, Hadyn Nuttel, Alicia Brak and Amelka Niedbalec, and juniors Gabe Linski and Ashley Strachn.

"The kids are working hard on the court and classroom, said Gablenz. "We are in a loaded conference."

Prospect returns six players from last season. They include seniors Cassie Voicu, Zoe Klucker, Kate Seyer, Christine Ukkan, junior Lucy Nunez and sophomore Kara Pescaru.

Round Lake has plenty of experience returning: No. 1 doubles team of Val Albiter and Jazmin Guzman along with the second doubles duo of Zharick Espinal and Arianna Reyes. Top singles player Annette Trujillo also returns for the Panthers. All five are seniors.

"We have a wealth of experience," said Round Lake coach Atom Davis. "We are ready for a positive season."

Seniors Makena Calabrese and Nisau Nazeer are back for Schaumburg.

Can Stevenson junior Sarah Wang repeat as state champ?

Can the Patriots improve on a second-place finish as a team in 2A?

Those answers will come soon.

Wang, 30-1, returns as the defending state champion as a junior. Others back are sophomores Abby Ma (24-3), and Sophia Shlyakhta (21-0) and the double duo of seniors Sara Mehta-Ainika Hou (24-5).

"We are very excited about the season," said coach Jose Morales. "We want to be the top team in the state. We have a lot of strong players."

Meredith Grace, a state qualifier as a sophomore, returns for her junior year. Also back are senior Megan Anderson and junior Mary Grace Townsend for St. Viator. The Lions won their first sectional last season.

Vernon Hills is paced by returners seniors Jaidyn Rush and Ann Bryson, juniors Anika Deshpande and Kayall Manivasagam along with sophomores Anya Sabharwal aand Julie Kabalkin.

Warren, which recorded a school-record 20 wins a year ago, is led by senior captains Shannon Mahoney and Kaija Johnson.

"We have a young team with a lot of new faces," said coach Vince Desecki. "We have a lot of potential."

Wauconda returns Justin McQuinn, Erin Smith and Annabell Groelle.

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