Photo: Madi Limbrick is set for a big year, her third on varsity tennis. Photo by Mike Slodki
by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Fourth-year Lady Knights tennis coach Tim Larsen finds himself in a unique spot.
For the first time, Kaneland comes off a season a year ago in which it had a state presence. Kaneland also finished 8-6-1 in dual tussles, and finished second in the Northern Illinois Big XII East division.
Everyone was a true wild card when slotted into the depth charts, and it might even be more of a shootout for the singles and doubles spots, according to Larsen.
“There’s a lot of enthusiasm, and a lot of concern about where to put these girls,” Larsen said. “We have a lot of talent and a lot of new girls, including very talented freshmen.”
But girls that achieved success a year ago, like seniors Amelia Napiorkowski and Madi Limbrick, bring a track record.
Napiorkowski’s success during the regular season was on the singles front, but went to State as a doubles tandem with Class of 2011 member Lindsay Jurcenko.
“(Lindsay) played with a lot of heart, and the other girls saw her play hard and took a cue from it,” Larsen said.
Napiorkowski is projected for a No. 1 doubles slot with Lindsay’s younger sister, Madi, a freshman.
“Madi is playing really well, and I think the time Amelia spent playing with Lindsay was fantastic for her and for us as a team. Amelia has really shown up to practice as a leader on the court,” Larsen said.
Limbrick, projected for double, brings experience and improvement in both singles and doubles matches.
“We’ve been scrambling to find any experience at all the last two season, and Madi brings a lot and she’s seen an awful lot. I’m looking forward to watching her play,” Larsen said.
In singles action, freshman Samantha Schrepferman and Angelica Emmanouil could make an impact.
Larsen knows its a long season ahead, but feels whatever combination goes out there, they’ll carry fighting spirit.
“Last year, whenever our girls would be down a set, it’s as if they played harder, and it’s about finding another gear when you think you might lose the match,” Larsen said.
The tennis campaign volleys on Tuesday, Aug. 23, in West Chicago against Wheaton Academy. NIB-12 play begins the following Tuesday against Sycamore.