Junior varsity tennis team places fourth at their 2022 conference tournament


Photo By Barbara Martinez

The junior varsity tennis team stands together to show off their ribbons. The team got fourth place overall at their conference tournament.

     On Saturday, the Kaneland junior varsity girls tennis team took fourth place overall at their conference tournament at Rochelle Township High School.

     The schools that opposed Kaneland included Morris, LaSalle-Peru, Sycamore and Ottawa. Rochelle is a part of the conference as well, but since they did not have enough players, they only hosted the tournament at their school. 

     The teams were to play ten-game pro sets and win by two games in order to win each match. If there was a tie, they played a ten-point tiebreaker. 

     The meet officially started at 8:30 a.m. and concluded at around 2 p.m. During that time, every Kaneland player played up to three matches each.

     For Kaneland’s singles lineup, sophomore Ellie Taylor placed third and sophomore Lauren Babka came in fifth.

     Kaneland’s doubles players placed similarly. The first doubles team of sophomores Ava Salchert and Olivia King placed third, the second doubles team of freshman Vienna Hwang and sophomore Ella Bischoff came in fourth and the third doubles team of sophomore Hannah Gianetto and freshman Laina Ariola finished third.

     The junior varsity tennis season this year has been an interesting one, according to JV coach Kerry McEvoy.

     “It’s a lot of these girls’ first time playing,” McEvoy said. “[Bischoff] just started playing this summer and [Hwang] has some experience, and it’s a lot of other people’s first experience playing too.”

     Some lineup players from the previous year did not return for this year’s tennis season, and it was a cause of concern for McEvoy.

     McEvoy said that they “lost four of our lineup players” specifically, but said that the current lineup players are “getting there.”

     There were some matches that Kaneland struggled with during the tournament. For example, the first doubles team lost their second match to LaSalle Peru 3-10. 

     “[LaSalle-Peru] had very good net players, and they would hit very angled shots,” Salchert said. 

     After some time to reflect, some Kaneland players believe that most of the struggles they experienced were due to personal weaknesses.

     “I could’ve done better with my footwork. [My opponent] would hit to where I wasn’t, but I wouldn’t come up [to the net] or go back,” Taylor said. 

     McEvoy also believes that another reason the team placed as they did was that they “play not to lose, but they need to play to win.”

     Some of the teams’ set scores do not reflect the story of what occurred during each match. The second doubles team lost their second match against Morris 3-10, but each game wasn’t as lopsided.

     “It was annoying because a lot of our games were deuce, and if not that, it was 30-40,” Hwang said. 

     McEvoy attributed their fourth overall finish to the mindset each player had prior to the meet itself.

     “They made it more stressful than it needed to be. For instance, [Taylor] lost a match she shouldn’t have, and when [Airola and Gianetto] got to deuce, they lost. They always lose deuce,” McEvoy said. 

     After nearly six hours, the 2022 JV conference tournament concluded. While this marks the end of the JV team’s season, the varsity tennis players still have their own conference tournament next weekend.