Thanks goodness for their shoes.
That's the only way St. Charles East girls tennis coach Sena Drawer can tell apart identical twins Alexa and Carly Huskisson, who team at No. 2 doubles for the Saints.
"Once they take off their shoes, I'm in trouble," Drawer said.
The sisters' opponents have been in plenty of trouble so far this season. The Huskisson twins are 7-0 at No. 2 doubles for East entering today's St. Charles East Invitational.
"They have that twin thing going on where they really don't need to talk much to each other and yet they always know where the other is," Drawer said.
Drawer said the girls played JV tennis last season because of conflicts with their soccer schedules but have been able to devote more time to tennis this year.
It should be easier for Drawer to distinguish the girls if she follows through on plans to have each of them partner with the girls currently playing No. 1 doubles – Haydyn Jones and Kelsie Roberton (5-2) – to switch things up. Drawer said the Huskissons aren't far behind East's top team.
"I'm going to try and mix those two up every once in a while to give them each some first doubles experience," Drawer said. "They're good. They're not big power hitters but they're smart, they know how to place the ball and they [move around the court] very well."
St. Francis girls tennis coach Marcia Bussey was taken aback by the 6-0, first set loss absorbed Thursday by Spartans No. 1 singles player Claire Eckert in her match against Aurora Central Catholic's Alex Horton.
Eckert, who has lost only once on the season, was perhaps even more blindsided.
"I think she was taken by surprise," Bussey said. ... "The ACC coach has done such a great job of building that program. Maybe our memory is from other years when ACC was a weaker school, and Claire has been with us four years, so she knows that."
Bussey credited Horton for playing virtually error-free tennis in the first set, ruffling Eckert.
After the humbling 6-0 setback, Eckert snapped to life and rallied for her 0-6, 6-1, 6-1 win.
St. Francis won the dual meet, 5-0, but also needed an escape at No. 2 singles, where Ava Kolman won the first set of her match via tiebreaker.
The Leavey Invitational co-ed cross country meet last Saturday at St. Charles continues to be one of the area's largest high school events of the fall.
Between the boys and girls varsity, frosh-soph and open races, a total of 1,362 runners participated in this year's meet, according to Skip Stolley, chairman of the Chicago Area Track and Field Organizing Committee.
The invitational is hosted annually by St. Charles East at LeRoy Oakes and features teams from throughout the west suburbs.
IN THE GROOVE
Mitch Zabka, Batavia, Jr., cross country
What he did: Zabka placed fifth individually – best among local runners – on Saturday in the Leavey Invitational at Leroy Oakes in St. Charles, finishing in 15:02.
Liza Fruendt, Batavia, Jr., girls tennis
What she did: Fruendt rallied back from a 2-6, 2-5 deficit in Wednesday's match against Neuqua Valley to win, 2-6, 7-5 (10-5). The win improved the Bulldogs' No. 2 singles player to 9-0 on the season.
WHAT WE LEARNED FROM LAST WEEK
Doubles can take the St. Charles North girls tennis team a long way.
North defeated Geneva in Tuesday's Upstate Eight Conference River dual, 4-3, on the strength of sweeping all four doubles matches.
WHAT WE'LL LEARN IN THE WEEK AHEAD
How smoothly today's St. Charles East Girls Tennis Invitational will run despite three different sites being used.
East will welcome the top singles and doubles draws while Geneva and St. Charles North will be the sites for other draws at the tournament.
COACH SLY SAYS
The St. Charles North girls cross country team deserves props for winning the Leavey Invite last weekend,
North edged York, which had won the invite three years in a row.
That is extremely promising start to the season for the North Stars, though the old saying it's not how you start, it's how you finish is definitely worth remembering when you're talking cross country.