Coach: Megan Rozboril, 2nd year

2016: Sixth in sectional

Top returning players: Sr. — Olivia Frank, Lauren Jackson, Sita Vakkalanka; Jr. — Kelsie Ayers; So. — Kendra Conroy, Alison Hanson.

Storyline: Rozboril believes her second year as coach has created a comfort level for her team. "I'm excited to see how we grow," she said. "Last year was a learning experience. I've seen a lot of improvements from the girls returning."

Jackson begins her fourth year on the squad, while Ayers is starting her third. They should be the Purple Raiders' leaders along with Conroy, while Hanson and Frank figure to in doubles when sectionals roll around. Vakkalanka didn't practice the first week and should be in the top six after getting in the required practices, according to Rozboril.  

Central Catholic

Coach: Hannah Meece, 1st year

2016: Tied for third in Class 1A State

Top returning players: Sr. — Maggie Stopa, Clare Wieland; Jr. — Emily Bready, Renata Lee, Charlie Sartoris; So. — Carly Hundman.

Storyline: The Saints were expected to contend for another trophy at the Class 1A state tourney. That will be more difficult as senior standout Madison Tattini, who won the state singles title and is a University of Utah recruit, has decided not to play this season.

"I still think our team will be very solid," said Meece, who was an assistant last year and took over when Joe Rondone retired. Wieland and Stopa figure to be the Saints' top two singles players.

Wieland was a state singles qualifier last year, while Stopa and Sartoris qualified in doubles. Senior Caroline O'Connor, who did not play last year, has returned and could work into the lineup.  

Normal Community

Coach: Roger Juers, 2nd year

2016: First in Class 2A sectional

Top returning players: Sr. — Olivia Kraft, Madison Vail; Jr. — Kavya Sudhir; So. — Grace Walls.

Storyline: With four state qualifiers returning, Juers believes the Iron have the lineup that could defend their Big 12 Conference and sectional championships.

"They're pretty tournament tough," said Juers. "They've got a lot of experience under their belts."

Kraft, who has qualified for state the last two years in doubles with graduated Katie Toohill, has moved up to NCHS' No. 1 singles player. "She's the fastest girl on the team and the strongest," said Juers. "She's putting things together more and could be very dangerous. She has a big game."

Sudhir and Walls qualified for state last year in doubles, while Vail was a singles qualifier. Rounding out the top six figures to be Annika Hiredesai and Ayushi Shah.

Normal West

Coach: Steve Wulfers, 2nd year

2016: Seventh in Class 2A sectional

Top returning players: Sr. — Emma Boitnott, Natalie Clark; Jr. — Ariel Miller.

Storyline: With seven letterwinners returning, Wulfers has plenty of experience to count on from a squad which finished fourth in the Big 12 Conference. "Our group is excited and dedicated to improve and compete," he said.

Miller and Clark played singles during last year's sectional, while Boitnott participated in doubles. Other letterwinners are Nicole Crawley, Destiny Jackson, Ella Miller and Emily Kettering.

"There are also some 2016 JV players and newcomers that will be pushing hard for varsity playing time," said Wulfers.

University High

Coach: Catherine Sturdyvin, 1st year

2016: Ninth in Class A State

Top returning players: Sr. — Katie Feely, Anna Huber, Grace Matheis; Jr. — Stephanie Chow; So. — Isabel Schaefbauer, Abby Totten.

Storyline: Sturdyvin, a former U High player (when she was Catherine Butts), takes over head coaching duties from Tom Whiting after serving as his assistant for five years. She has four returning state qualifiers who have their sights set on improving their state finish.

"If we take care of business and play smart, we can improve upon that," said Sturdyvin. "I would love to see top five, but never know how that's going to shake out."

Schaefbauer, who also plays volleyball, and Totten finished third in state in doubles as freshmen, while Matheis and Huber also qualified for state in doubles. Freshman Amaya Fernandes is challenging Schaefbauer and Totten at the top of the singles lineup. Three players are vying for the No. 6 singles spot — Chow, Feely and junior Calis Lim.

Compiled by Jim Benson



Reporter for Lee Enterprises Central Illinois.

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