JCA Girls Hope to Net Major Prizes


Joliet Catholic sophomore tennis players McCoy Hutchison and Maddie Bauer are 17-0 as a doubles team.

They are a threat to win the sectional championship Oct.17 to 18 at Plainfield East and place in the state tournament.

When will they know they have peaked? When they beat their coaches.

Terry Wrona, the Angels’ co-coach along with Mark Streitz, and University of St. Francis Hall of Famer Bob Tomasino, who has come on board as a volunteer assistant, form a formidable doubles team that Hutchison and Bauer are not yet beating.

“We’re trying to get them to come to the net more,” Wrona said Monday as the Angels put the finishing touches on a dual-meet victory over Plainfield East. “That’s where doubles is played.

“We have to get them to the net, which they haven’t been doing that much. They are playing front and back. But they are excellent ball strikers. When they get to the point they can beat us, I think they maybe can have a shot a state title.”

Of course, many of the most outstanding players in the state opt for singles. JCA’s No. 1 singles player, junior Nina Bertino, is 19-2 and hoping to place at state as well.

“Our No. 1 singles player and No. 1 doubles team are top players,” Wrona said. “They play year-round.

“After that, we have a team full of girls who work hard at it but don’t play year-round, partly because we don’t have an indoor facility in Joliet. When we get beat, it’s by teams that play year-round. Our goal is to get all our kids to play year-round. It would be good if we could get that year-round indoor place.”

Among the Angels’ other chief contributors are Katie and Annie Payne, Madison Wyss and Lauren Siegfried. JCA has won its own invitational and most recently the Oswego Tournament. The Angels last won a sectional in 2009, and they feel they have the material to end the mini-drought.

Bertino reached state her freshman year in doubles and her sophomore year in singles.

“I’d like to extend my stay at state this year,” she said. “I’ve worked so hard. I think I’ve taken my game to a whole new level with USTA tournaments I’ve played and hitting with several different people. My net play is definitely improved, and my consistency is better.”

Bertino said she would like to reach the top 32 at state against the rugged competition she is sure to face. The Bauer-Hutchison doubles duo is aiming to achieve their ultimate goal, a top 16 finish.

“We really play well together,” Hutchison said.

“We feed off each other,” Bauer added. “We have a good dynamic. Every match during the season, we work on something different, and that’s helped us improve.”

Echoing Wrona’s thoughts, Hutchison said she and Hutchison play their best when they get to the net.

“I think our strengths and weaknesses complement each other, and we have some quick feet, so it works out well,” Bauer said.

The pair were at state as freshmen, finishing 26-6. During the offseason, they played against some doubles teams that have finished in the top 16 at state.

“The drills we did over the summer, and some of the practice matches we played have really helped,” Hutchison said. “We’re better than we were last year.”

Published by The Herald-News/Shaw Media on Monday, September 29, 2014 by Dick Goss

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