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Sports

Area teams hoping to make a racket

Kaneland's Madie Jurasek competes in the No. 1 singles match during the Rochelle sectional meet Oct. 16.
Kaneland's Madie Jurasek competes in the No. 1 singles match during the Rochelle sectional meet Oct. 16.

The girls tennis season starts in earnest in the next weeks. Here is a preview of teams from around Kane County.

Batavia Bulldogs

Coach: Brad Nelson

Top players

Name Year

Leah Buttin fr.

Sophie Cange sr.

Maddie Durso jr.

Grayson Ferrell sr.

Bella Lins fr.

Madison Ostrander jr.

Morgan Steinis jr.

Outlook: Depth will be one of the Bulldogs’ strengths this season. They will be deep up and down the lineup. The juniors have all played three years on varsity.

“I think we’re going to be very strong. [The juniors] are pretty seasoned,” Nelson said.

On moving to the new DuKane Conference, Nelson said he sees a lot of potential for his team.

“I’m excited,” Nelson said. “We’re going to have a lot of competitive matches.

“Having a deep lineup like we have is going to be important.”

Another strength for his team is doubles. “Our goals would be to get some through to the state tournament this year,” Nelson said.

In singles, Nelson looks for big things from Ostrander.

“Madison Ostrander is making the move from doubles to singles,” Nelson said. “She’s worked very hard in the offseason and has really made a lot of improvements.”

Geneva Vikings

Coach: Zach Evans

Top players

Name Year

Alex Capelli jr.

Helena Corda sr.

Grace Hahn sr.

Taylor Hayes sr.

Emma Henderson jr.

Shelby Johnson jr.

Outlook: The Vikings hope to repeat their success from 2017. Geneva won the Upstate Eight River title and qualified players for the state meet.

“Our goals this year would be to finish near the top of the conference and hopefully get a couple girls down to state this year,” Evans said. “We were able to get a doubles team and a singles player last year.”

Evans believes his team will be very strong again this year. With a number of returning players coming back, the Vikings will be a contender in the new DuKane Conference.

“We should have a pretty good season,” Evans said. “We have a solid lineup.”

Kaneland Knights

Coach: Tim Larsen

Top players

Name Year

Anna Carlson sr.

Madelynn Jurasek sr.

Erin McMullen sr.

Haley Plach sr.

Piper Schrepferman soph.

Outlook: The Knights should be a top contender again this year. With so much talent returning, the team has big things in its future. Kaneland won the Northern Illinois Big 12 Conference title, a sectional championship for the first time ever in school history, and finished 10th at the Class 1A state meet last year.

“We certainly intend to be very competitive in the conference again,” Larsen said. “We should be right in there for the conference championship. We feel like we can play with the big dogs anywhere. We’re going to try for a sectional championship again. We have our eyes on getting to the state tournament and winning as many matches as we can.”

Look for exciting things again from both Jurasek and Schrepferman. The two returning all-staters will play singles again.

“I really feel like it’s a deep team,” Larsen said. “If you think top to bottom all the way down to the freshmen that are looking for spots on the sophomore team, this may be the deepest team that we’ve ever had. We’re on a roll right now.”

St. Charles East Saints

Coach: Matt Bulman

Top players

Name Year

Megan Conroy soph.

Claudia Field jr.

Katie McCarthy sr.

Jamie McDermott jr.

Elena Melone jr.

Outlook: The Saints are a young team with plenty of strong players up and down the lineup.

“We’re still relatively young, so we’re growing a little bit. We are definitely a lot better than we were last year,” Bulman said.

One of the team’s biggest strengths this year is depth.

“We’ll be playing with the lineup as the season goes on,’’ Bulman said. “We have a lot of talent this year. It’s a good problem to have.”

One of the Saints’ goals is to improve at every meet.

“Our goals are pretty much the same as they are every year,” Bulman said. “We always mark the day when we play St. Charles North because they are a rival. We want to finish as best as we can in conference play. We have high expectations.”

St. Charles North North Stars

Coach: Sean Masoncup

Top players

Name Year

Lauren Arbir sr.

Claire Kloberdanz jr.

Ellie Montgomery sr.

Leia Papanicholas soph.

Emaira Saini soph.

Shelby Thomas sr.

Outlook: The North Stars return a very strong doubles team of Saini and Thomas. They finished in the top 16 in the Class 2A state meet last year. Thomas has been all-state her first three years.

Masoncup sees big things ahead for the doubles team.

“Their goal is to win a state title,” Masoncup said. “I think the sky is the limit for those two. They have worked really hard in the offseason.”

With the new DuKane Conference this year, the North Stars are not sure what to expect from the competition.

“We don’t really know a lot of the opposing teams,” Masoncup said.

“As long as we get better every day, by the end of the season we’re good.”

St. Francis Spartans

Coach: Tom Castronovo

Top players

Name Year

Emma Armburst sr.

Marnie Kopec jr.

Jane Price jr.

Caroline Thoms sr.

Gina Vale sr.

Outlook: The Spartans return a strong core with three state qualifiers in Kopec, Price and Vale. St. Francis won its sectional last year, and the team finished 10th at the state meet. Kopec was a state medalist and came in sixth in doubles.

“I am optimistic about our fall season,” Castronovo said.

Even though the team lost 11 seniors from last year, the girls moving up from JV will contribute significantly.

“We also have a strong incoming freshmen, Julie Turek from Geneva, to give us some added depth,” Castronovo said.

Challenges this season include the new Metro Suburban Conference.

“We will face off against some schools we have never competed against. We are up to the challenge,” Castronovo said.

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