Girls State Tennis Tournament
When: Thursday, Friday and Saturday
Where: Buffalo Grove
Area first-round singles pairings: No. 9-16 seed Madison Tattini, Central Catholic (30-1) vs. Danielle Blaser, Libertyville; Kena Bere, Lincoln (24-7) vs. No. 17-32 seed Nicole Tyulpa, Rock Island; Christina Su, U High (25-6) vs. No. 17-32 seed Gaby Schoenberg, Flox Lake Grant.
Area first-round doubles pairings: Katie Toohill-Olivia Kraft, NCHS (22-7) vs. No. 17-32 seed Jessica Ampel-Abbey Moore, Evanston; Clare Wieland-Maggie Stopa, Central Catholic (19-7) vs. No. 17-32 seed Shelby Johnson-Madelynn Jurasek, Aurora Christian; Grace Matheis-Anna Huber, U High (18-10) vs. Collette Bouwer-Jensen McGuire, Lansing Illiana Christian.
Central Catholic outlook: A sophomore among the No. 9-16 seeds, Tattini hopes to improve upon last year's top-24 finish. "Madison has been 'on' all season," said Coach Joe Rondone, whose ace has a 64-4 career record. "She continues to amaze people who watch her. She has very few, if any, weaknesses. Her primary strength is return of serve. If your serve is not a weapon, Madison will hit a lot of winners on the return." ... Wieland and Stopa formed their partnership four weeks into the season. "Their best doubles was certainly in sectionals, but the coaches keep telling them that they are a long way from reaching their full potential," Rondone said. "They haven't quite realized how good they can be. Perhaps the next level is reached at state."
U High outlook: U High's Su is making her fourth state trip while her sophomore teammates, Matheis and Huber are making their state debuts. "Our only goal is to have a lot of fun," said Coach Tom Whiting. "It's a great way to end a season where these three kids get to see what happens when you work hard and never give up."
Lincoln outlook: A senior, Bere was a 2014 state qualifier. Her seven losses have come against just five opponents including Tattini, whom she lost to twice. "Her improvement has been in the precision and power of her serve, improvement in her backhand — which still needs work — but most importantly the dominance of her forehand," said Coach Njeri Bere. "At the state tournament, I want her to focus on consistency in keeping the ball in play as opposed to going for the risky shots that sometimes achieve some amazing points, but more often than not cause unforced errors."