Tournament primer

When: Thursday, Friday and Saturday

Where: Buffalo Grove

Class 1A area first-round singles pairings: No. 1 seed Madison Tattini, Central Catholic (24-1) vs. Grace Change, Chicago F.W. Parker; Clare Wieland, Central Catholic (19-3) vs. No. 5-8 seed Ana Hatfield, Rockford Boylan.

Class 2A area first-round singles pairing: Madison Vail, Normal Community (22-5) vs. Katie Halwachs, O'Fallon.

Class 1A area first-round doubles pairings: No. 5-8 seed Isabel Schaefbauer-Abby Totten, University High (9-2) vs. Noelle Beans-Chloe Schaufelberger, Greenville; Grace Matheis-Anna Huber, U High (16-6) vs. Sarah Diederich-Nicole Plumley, Marion; No. 9-16 seed Maggie Stopa-Charlie Sartoris, Central Catholic (15-2) vs. Lauren Karolewicz-Marley Schultz, Kaneland.

Class 2A area first-round doubles pairings: Katie Toohill-Olivia Kraft, NCHS (20-6) vs. No. 5-8 seed Karina Falkstrom-Marie Kapelevich, Mundelein Carmel; Kayva Sudhir-Grace Walls, NCHS (22-4) vs. Michelle He-Stacy Weis, Aurora Metea Valley.

Central Catholic outlook: The top-seeded Tattini will attempt to give the Pantagraph area its first state champion since Bloomington's Mariel Verban in 1995. Wieland and Stopa qualified as a doubles team last year, but at mid-season, Joe Rondone, who is retiring as coach after 14 seasons, had Wieland focus on singles and moved Sartoris up to play doubles with Stopa. "They keep getting better and better every time they go out and play," he said. "That's how we got three (entries) qualified. We just missed a fourth (as the 29-3 doubles team of Maggie Kuntz and Rachel McBeath lost in the sectional quarterfinals)." 

U High outlook:  Schaefbauer and Totten are the only all-freshman doubles team to qualify. "They are a couple of really good players," said Coach Tom Whiting. "They want to win it. That's their goal. Isabel serves really well. They both volley really, really well. They have an all-around game. They are hustlers. They don't give up. Their first-serve percentage is really high." Last year, Matheis and Huber went 1-2 in their state debut. "Anna lobs really well," Whiting said. "She keeps teams off the net. Grace serves really well. Anna has really good cross-court backhands. They are different players, but they complement each other."

NCHS outlook: Roger Juers, who's never had more qualifiers than this year's five, rates this the best team he's coached. "Our main goal is to just work hard, stay positive and control what we can control," he said. Last year, Kraft and four-time qualifier Toohill went 1-2 in state doubles. "They have very different styles that complement each other," Juers said. Sudhir and Walls tend to play their best against the best foes during the biggest points. "Its hard to make it to state your first year playing together, but they meshed very well," Juers said. "With Walls being a lefty, it makes for a good combo." Vail has relied on a consistent first serve. "She played (No. 5 singles) most of the year," Juers said, "but can hang with a lot of No. 1 players."

— Compiled by Randy Sharer



Reporter for Lee Enterprises Central Illinois.

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