Inside Girls Tennis: Prairie Ridge doubles team pairs for athletes of week

Prairie Ridge doubles team of Anna Kuechenberg, left, and Mikaela McNally.
Prairie Ridge doubles team of Anna Kuechenberg, left, and Mikaela McNally.

Athletes of the week



Prairie Ridge

Kuechenberg, a senior, and McNally, a junior, demonstrated that exceeding expectations is as important as winning titles for a team's success. They advanced to the No. 1 doubles finals of the Fox Valley Conference Tournament on Saturday as the No. 3 seed to help the Wolves to a narrow team victory.


Sectional notes: Area players will play at four different sectional tournaments beginning today at Cary-Grove, Huntley, Antioch and Stevenson. The majority of the schools will be at Huntley and Cary-Grove with the exceptions being McHenry and Johnsburg.

McHenry will play at Stevenson, and Johnsburg, along with FVC teams Grayslake Central and Grayslake North, will compete at Antioch.

A top-four finish at sectionals in singles or doubles qualifies players for state beginning Thursday. There should be a number of local qualifiers out of the Cary-Grove and Huntley sectionals.

At Cary-Grove, all of the seeded players are from area schools, led by Crystal Lake South’s Julia Thome, the No. 1 seed in singles, and Crystal Lake Central’s Evelyn Youel and Jilian Wallace, the No. 1 seed in doubles.

At Huntley, three local players are seeded in singles, led by Jacobs’ Ashley Kosy, the No. 1 seed. In doubles, five of the six seeds are from local schools, led by Tamara Funke and Jantzen Rosales, the No. 1 seed.

At Stevenson, Brittany Goebel is seeded No. 5 for McHenry. Goebel could play Stevenson’s Vinaya Rao, the Patriots' No. 2 singles player and No. 3 sectional seed, in the quarterfinals if both advance, to qualify for state.

Singles to doubles: Cary-Grove’s Macy Koepke and Alyssa Derer will move from singles to doubles at sectionals. Koepke and Derer were the Trojans’ top two singles players most of the year. They are the No. 4 seed in doubles. Both are seniors and hope to qualify for state for the first time.

Seeding: When Prairie Ridge’s Callie Schmit in singles and Kuechenberg and McNally in doubles defeated Crystal Lake South at the FVC Tournament, it set up an interesting seeding quandary. Julia Thome had defeated Schmit twice during the season, and Kelsey Laktash and Rachel Rasmussen also had beaten Kuechenberg and McNally two times before conference.

The question was whether the most recent win would have more weight than the two earlier wins for the Gators. In both cases, the seeding committee gave the nod to South with the higher seeds.

The decision didn’t have as much impact in singles as it did in doubles, with Schmit getting the No. 2 seed. Kuechenberg and McNally, with the No. 3 seed, are in the same half of the bracket as Youel and Wallace.  

Exceeding expectations: With every point won or lost of critical importance at the FVC Tournament, Prairie Ridge also maximized its points at No. 4 doubles. Nikki Rice and Leenah took third at No. 4 doubles as an unseeded team, defeating the No. 3 seed from Grayslake Central in the first round and the No. 4 seed from Huntley in the third-place match.

This week's top meets

Sectional tournaments, Friday and Saturday

Local players try to qualify for state at the Cary-Grove, Huntley, Antioch and Stevenson sectional tournaments.

Rob Smith

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