As Angelina Ye warmed up on the Palatine tennis courts to start the first day of the state tennis tournament, Dave Hillmer noticed something strange.
The Sycamore coach looked around at the other 11 courts and estimated that Ye, seeded as one of the top 16 players in the tournament, could beat every single one of them. However, the most formidable opponent, De La Salle’s Khalia Powell, for Ye at Paltine was standing right across the net.
“I’m thinking, ‘What the heck happened here?’ ” Hillmer said. “Nobody could tell me a real answer except a couple coaches said sometimes the coaches just don’t send in their records.”
Ye fell to Powell, who ended up reaching the quarterfinals, in two tough sets. It was a tough start for the Sycamore sophomore, who had visions of making all-state after going 4-2, including three consecutive wins to start, at the state tournament in 2012 as a freshman.
“I definitely had to refocus. Even in the backdraw you can even fight through to the end,” Ye said. “I just kept trying. I took every match seriously all like the first match.”
Ye won her next five matches before falling in the sixth round of the consolation bracket to another opponent who would reach the quarterfinals. For Ye’s accomplishments, she has been named the 2013 Daily Chronicle Girls Tennis Player of the Year. It is the second consecutive season Ye has earned the honor.
Ye (30-2) was a force for Sycamore at the No. 1 singles spot, not losing a set all year until the postseason. Ye still managed to win her second consecutive sectional singles title with a three-set victory over Geneva’s Kirby Einck leading up to state.
Ye has a busy travel tennis schedule set up over the next year. She’ll play in several tournaments around the Midwest and make a trip out to California for another tournament.
While she’s looking to improve all facets of her game, Ye said she’s really looking at her approach in how she plays points.
“I’m a big hitter, I like to hit huge shots. I’m working on control a lot more now and controlling and dictating points,” Ye said. “Aggressive while being controlled, making smart decisions strategically and physically is another big one.”
Hillmer says Ye will only get better as she gains more experience and continues to work on her shots. With Sycamore starting five sophomores this season, Hillmer has big hopes for the Spartans down the line.
“Sometimes I forget that because they do so well. I’ve challenged them to work over the winter,” Hillmer said. “I told them ‘If you stick with me in two years we’re going to try to win that sectional.’ "
2013 Daily Chronicle Girls Tennis All-Area Team
Alexa Farris, sr., Sycamore: Farris (18-2) was a solid No. 2 singles player for Sycamore behind Angelina Ye. The senior won her first match at the sectional tournament.
Sammie Schrepferman, jr., Kaneland: Schrepferman played in the No. 1 singles spot for Kaneland all season and advanced to the state meet for the second consecutive season. Schrepferman won her first-round match and went 3-2 overall at the state meet.
Angelina Ye, so., Sycamore: Ye (30-2) won her second consecutive sectional title and made another deep run at the state meet.
Madi Jurcenko, Jelly Emmanouil, juniors, Kaneland: The No. 1 doubles team for Kaneland advanced to the state meet once again. Jurcenko and Emmanouil rattled off four consecutive wins after a first-round loss and went 4-2 overall.
Colleen Landers, Stephanie Karolewicz, juniors, Kaneland: Kaneland’s No. 2 doubles team was a key factor in providing the depth that helped the Knights to a Northern Illinois Big 12 East championship.