Coach: Buddy Strawn, 2nd year
2011: Sixth in sectional, sixth in Big 12
Returning letterwinners: Sr. — Madison Bobrytzke, Lauren Yoder; So. — Aishwarya Chenji, Varshini Kadadevarmath.
Storyline: Lauren Yoder, a three-time state tournament qualifier in singles, didn’t play this summer. Coach Buddy Strawn expects Yoder to get stronger during the season and playing her best when the state tourney rolls around in October. Strawn said this is a “rebuilding” season for the Purple Raiders, and the biggest thing he would like to see is who can keep “the other team on the court the longest.” Sophomore Shruthi Ramachandran and freshman Jyotsna Bitra should provide help.
Coach: Joe Rondone, 10th year
2011: Seventh in sectional
Returning letterwinners: Sr. — Marion Brady, Cate Chu, Jessica Dionesotes, Clare O’Connor, Hannah Russell, Natalie Russell, Tiffany Taimoorazy; Jr. — Hanna Winslow; So. — Lauryn Oleson, Nicole Taimoorazy.
Storyline: With a veteran team in which most saw some varsity action, Coach Joe Rondone said he didn’t feel the need for two-a-day practices before school began. “Overall, we came back in pretty much good shape,” he said. Marion Brady returns as the No. 1 singles player, while Clare O’Connor has moved up a spot to No. 2. Rondone is pleased with the improvement of Jessica Dionesotes along with Hannah and Natalie Russell.
Coach: Jim Boswell, 12th year
2011: First in sectional, second in Big 12
Returning letterwinners: Sr. — Sarah Wise; Jr. — Jessica Burns, Lauren Greene; So. — Abby Kosharek, Avery Rainwater.
Storyline: The Ironmen return almost their entire squad which captured their first sectional title since 2007 by a point. Abby Kosharek earned a trip to state in singles as a freshman. “She’s the same player as she was last year, but a little stronger,” said Coach Jim Boswell. Kosharek and Jessica Burns form a solid 1-2 punch at the top of the lineup. Burns went to state in doubles with Rachel Christopherson, who graduated. Sophomore Amanda Fuchs has moved up from the junior varsity squad.
Normal Community West
Coach: Phil Nevels, 18th year
2011: Fourth in sectional, fifth in Big 12
Returning letterwinners: Sr. — Bethany Collins, Taylor Hacker, Lea Waller, Stephanie Wiechmann.
Storyline: The Wildcats suffered a severe loss when junior Amanda Studnicki, a two-time state tournament singles qualifier, transferred to the Harold Solomon Academy in Florida. “I hated to see her go, but it was obvious it was the right move for her,” said Coach Phil Nevels. Stephanie Wiechmann has moved up to the No. 1 singles spot, followed by freshman Krista Wilson. Senior Jessica Barnhill returns after spending a year in Germany.
Coach: Tom Whiting, 1st year
2011: Third in sectional
Returning letterwinners: Sr. — Joelle Friesen, Krystle Koe, Erica Matheis, Isabel Park, Katherine Sampson; So. — Olivia Lee.
Storyline: Tom Whiting moves up from assistant to head coach replacing Phil Reuter. Junior Alyssa Reuter, Phil’s daughter and a two-time state doubles qualifier, decided to run cross country. Whiting likes the Pioneers’ depth and sees the bottom of the lineup changing often. Freshman Christina Su has emerged as the No. 1 singles player. “She moves really well,” said Whiting. “She’s sort of a smaller girl, but she hits the ball hard.” Olivia Lee will be No. 2 in singles, followed by Erica Matheis.
— Compiled by Jim Benson