Four seniors anchor the Fenwick girls tennis team this season, all with experience in playing in pressure situations.
The Friars could use the expertise with powerhouses Benet and Carmel likely to contend for the top spots in the East Suburban Catholic Conference and a slew of other opponents loaded with talent.
Catherine Joss and Molly Wallach are back in the fold. The duo placed third at No. 1 doubles in conference last season and won one round at the IHSA State Tournament.
Mia Sullivan and Marta Shoorgot are also back this season. Sullivan has qualified for state the last two years. She’s switched to doubles and teamed up with newcomer Laura Gutierrez.
Others new to the team include Dana Balk, Tierney Vrdolyak, Ana Sprajcer, Kaelin Schillinger, Rachel Heuel and Annie Krug. Balk, a junior, is currently at No. 1 singles. But it’s doubles where head coach Gerard Sullivan believes the team can make a significant impact. Vrdolyak and Sprajcer are partnered up, as are Heuel and Krug.
“Our team goal is to try to get all three of our doubles teams into the finals at conference, and to get respectable finishes at the singles position,” he said. “If we do so, we will be closer to the top two teams [in the conference] than we were last year, when about 10 points separated each of the four top teams at season’s end.”
The Friars already took a hit against Carmel, losing all its matches in a conference quad on Aug. 25, but they scored wins over University High, Joliet Catholic and Bishop McNamara to start the season.
“The No. 1 singles field in our conference is, I believe, the toughest of any conference in Illinois,” said Coach Sullivan. “We are therefore putting our firepower into the doubles lineup while fielding solid players at singles who will gain from the exposure to a great level of play and earn some crucial points in our conference total. Those singles players will also be working toward a goal of qualifying for state, as will our doubles teams.”
The Friars host Marian Catholic on Sept. 6 (4:30 p.m.) before traveling to Hinsdale for an invitational on Sept. 8 (8 a.m.). Home meets are held at Taylor Park, 950 N. Elmwood.