Girls Tennis: Lockport packing partly sunny attitude for state finals

Story Image Lockport's No. 1 Doubles Kat Samardzija returns a shot against Homewood-Flossmoor for the SouthWest Suburban Blue Conference Championship, Saturday, October 8th, 2011 in Flossmoor, IL l Gary Middendorf~for Sun-Times Media
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Updated: October 17, 2012 5:27PM

No rain.

Although a large contingent of Joliet-area teams and individuals entered in the Girls State Tennis Tournament have goals and aspirations, the recurring wish this year is for a dry weekend.

Two of the past three years, the consolation bracket has been canceled and some matches were forced inside because of the weather.

“We hope for no rain,” Lockport coach Bob Champlain said.

This year’s installment begins Thursday at 14 sites throughout the northwest suburbs. The tournament is hosted by Buffalo Grove.

Lockport’s Caroline Plecki will make her state debut Thursday, while the Porters’ top doubles team of Kelsey Forkin and Kat Samardzija steamroll into the meet fresh off capturing the Joliet Sectional title. A year ago, the duo was eliminated after losing their first match.

“Kelsey has qualified four years in row, so she wants to make the last year her best,” Champlain said. “Both entries want to get to play on Friday. That is always the goal.”

That means winning at least three matches Thursday.

Providence has the largest local contingent heading to state, having qualified five players. Included in the contingent are twins Kelly and Maggie Ruane, who are looking to make some noise as doubles partners during their second state appearance.

Joliet Catholic is sending three girls to the state meet. Leading the charge is Joliet sectional champion Harley Hutchison.

“Our players are obviously excited about the opportunity to play at state,” Joliet Catholic coach Mark Streitz said.

Two years ago, Hutchison went 3-2 at the state meet.

“Harley has very high expectations as she should,” Streitz said. “She’s worked hard throughout the year.”

Senior Alexis Bauer and freshman Nina Bertino are the Angels’ doubles entry.

“They are confident because of their successful season,” Streitz said. “The two seniors, Harley Hutchison and Alexis Bauer, having been to state before are anxious to see the bracket. Our freshman, Nina Bertino, is very excited to be representing Joliet Catholic.”

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