High school girls tennis notes: Huntley's Barnvos, Phommasack off to hot start; Woodstock North keeps winning

Michelle Barnvos and Kylie Phommasack
Michelle Barnvos and Kylie Phommasack

Michelle Barnvos and Kylie Phommasack are thoroughly enjoying the second season of their doubles partnership immensely.

Huntley’s No. 1 doubles team is rolling along with an 8-0 record, with the most impressive victory coming in the first week of the season against Jacobs’ Isha Desai and Kaya Trumbo.

Barnvos and Phommasack defeated Desai and Trumbo, 6-3, 7-5, in the Red Raiders’ 4-3 dual match loss to Jacobs. Last season, Barnvos and Phommasack lost to Desai and Lindsay Cunningham, 6-2, 6-2, in the Fox Valley Conference Tournament, then won the third-place match.

Barnvos, a senior, and Phommasack, a junior, were selected to the Northwest Herald All-Area first team last season.

“Michelle and Kylie have looked great at No. 1 doubles so far,” Raiders coach Barry Wells said. “Michelle played No. 1 doubles as a sophomore, but with a different partner. Michelle has been dominant at the net with her forehand. She is an intimidating presence at the net. Kylie has improved in her groundstrokes and volleys this season. They are playing more aggressively this year and using their size to our advantage.”

Barnvos is 5-foot-9, Phommasack is 5-7.

Wells hopes Huntley (3-1) can overcome Jacobs (4-0) to win the regular-season FVC standings. Those standings are kept by scores, so Huntley trails Jacobs by only a point and the teams have another dual match coming up.

“I think we can catch them if we play up to our ability,” Wells said.

Nice streak: Woodstock North ran its winning streak to 23 consecutive matches with a 6-1 victory over Johnsburg on Wednesday and is aiming for its fourth straight Kishwaukee River Conference title this season.

The Thunder’s streak dates back to last year, when North also won its first girls tennis sectional title in school history.

The Thunder returned several starters from last year’s lineup, but Aly Cullotta, a four-time state qualifier, graduated. Cullotta qualified for the Class 1A State Tournament in doubles as a freshman, then three times in singles. She was North’s No. 1 singles player for three seasons.

Sophia Ferru has moved up from No. 2 singles to the top spot.

“Sophia is doing well so far,” Thunder coach Bart Zadlo said. “She showed great poise in our first match and was dominant by moving her opponent from side to side, and hitting cross-court shots for winners. I have always been impressed with the way Sophia handles herself on the court. She is a fierce competitor. She has a chance to qualify for state.”

Zadlo appreciates the efforts from other returning varsity players Kaitlyn Mauch, Maggie Thomas, Anike Treadway and Bethany Lintner.

“They are playing up in spots on the team and have been receptive to working with new teammates,” he said. “They also push us during practice and set the example for everyone else to follow. We have good energy right now and that helps us gain momentum as a team.”

Raising their game: Jacobs coach Jon Betts knew sophomore Lara Santa-Ines would be a valuable part of the Golden Eagles’ lineup after winning the No. 3 singles at the FVC Tournament last season.

Santa-Ines currently has been playing No. 1 doubles with Trumbo (No. 2 singles FVC champ) and Betts likes their chemistry so far.

“Lara has worked hard in the offseason to improve her game,” Betts said. “She has been great at every position we put her in and clearly has been a team catalyst.”

Betts also praised junior Bryn Reicha, who was in the starting lineup occasionally last year.

“Bryn has shown tremendous improvement,” Betts said. “Bryn is undefeated playing third singles with a huge performance at No. 2 doubles against Huntley.”

Jacobs has not lost an FVC dual match since 2018, 4-3, to Cary-Grove. Since 2014, the Golden Eagles are 57-2 in FVC duals.

All-around competitor: C-G senior Kate Larry is one of several Trojans who compete in multiple sports. Larry also plays basketball and lacrosse.

C-G coach Therese Youel appreciate’s the contributions of Larry, who likely will graduate with eight varsity letters. Larry is playing No. 1 doubles with Katie Jannusch.

“Kate just loves to compete at whatever she is working on,” Youel said. “She is a real leader of the team. She happily leads warm-ups most days and anybody who is around her ends up being impressed with her effort level. She is a joy to watch.”

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