Girls state tennis
When: Thursday, Friday and Saturday
Where: Buffalo Grove and 13 surrounding sites
Class 1A area first-round singles pairings: Abby Totten, University High (29-6) vs. Ericka Dawson, Macomb; Amaya Fernandes, University High (32-6) vs. No. 9-16 seed Lindsay Huang, Urbana Uni High; Clare Wieland, Central Catholic (30-11) vs. No. 9-16 seed Fabiola Rivas, Chicago Lake View
Class 2A area first-round singles pairings: Ariel Miller, Normal West (15-13) vs. Allyce Gaborik, Lisle Benet; Annika Hiredesai, Normal Community (19-10) vs. Gabrielle Ochalik, Plainfield North
Class 1A area first-round doubles pairings: No. 9-16 seed Maggie Stopa-Charlie Sartoris, Central Catholic (23-7) vs. Julia Cagnina-Caitlyn Casey, Oak Forest; No. 9-16 seed Grace Matheis-Anna Huber, University High (32-7) vs. Hannah Hudson-Chelsea Maag, Jerseyville
Class 2A area first-round doubles pairings: Olivia Kraft-Kavya Sudhir, Normal Community (31-2) vs. Brooke Zielke-Rachel Habbal, Palos Heights Shepard; Madison Vail-Grace Walls, Normal Community (35-4) vs. No. 3-4 seed Katherine Harvey-Elizabeth Ferdman, Lincolnshire Stevenson
Central Catholic outlook: Sectional champions Stopa and Sartoris rely on strong chemistry. “They are both natural athletes which shows through in their speed, power and overall determination,” added Coach Hannah Meece. “It is great to see them work together on the court and continually build each other up.”
Wieland’s at her best when she plays aggressively. “I enjoy watching her step into the court and hit winners,” Meece said. “She is an experienced tennis player with solid fundamentals and her sportsmanship out on the court is unmatched.”
Meece believes the experience all three gained at last year’s state tournament will pay off this weekend.
U High outlook: Sectional runners-up Matheis and Huber frazzle foes with unconventional tactics. "They have sort of a cagey style of play in which they use drop shots and lobs a lot on a doubles court — something that is definitely unconventional," said Coach Catherine Sturdyvin. "They have an unbelievable record in third-set tiebreakers, and they don't get nervous in the big points."
Totten placed third in doubles last year with Isabel Schaefbauer. "Abby's largely an all-court player," Sturdyvin said. "She is very good at reading shots and therefore covers the court well. She tends to make you hit a number of good shots instead of just one or two to take a point from her."
Fernandes combines consistency and speed. "She can cover the court very easily and uses her short angles very well to keep her opponents on the run through the match," Sturdyvin said.
Normal West outlook: Miller’s state berth came as the result of steady, consistent play augmented by determination. Coach Steve Wulfers hopes she comes away from the tournament having had a “good experience and a victory or two.”
NCHS outlook: Kraft and Sudhir could face the No. 2-seeded Elizabeth Stafancic and Maria Goheen of West Aurora in the second round. “They are a tough team," said NCHS coach Roger Juers of his duo. "They communicate well. They don’t fight with each other. If you don’t have chemistry, it really doesn’t matter what your skill level is. If you’re not enjoying it and having fun out there, it’s hard to play your best.”
Early in the season, Walls and Vail dropped a few matches Juers thought they should’ve won. “The last couple weeks they’ve been on fire,” he said. “They are really stepping it up.”
Hiredesai placed fourth in the sectional. "She can hit her targets and she’s got a big forehand," Juers said.