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Preps: USTA keys Ye’s development for Sycamore

It has been a busy summer for Sycamore girls tennis team’s No. 1 singles player Angelina Ye.

After winning back-to-back St. Charles Sectional titles and being named a two-time Daily Chronicle Female Tennis Player of the Year, the junior worked all summer with the United States Tennis Association, playing against some of the top young tennis players across the country.

“It definitely helps me a ton,” Ye said. “It gives me a lot of exposure to college athletes and it just helps me develop mentally and physically. It shows me what I should be working to.”

Ye prepared for the upcoming fall high school season by representing one of three teams from the Midwest, which pitted her team against other squads from all over the country.

Ye said she didn’t lose a match from her No. 2 singles spot on the squad. With the exposure, Ye hopes to capture another sectional title and move toward becoming an all-state athlete.

“It is definitely an expectation,” Ye said. “I know in sectionals, all of the top four girls who made it state in the past year are coming back.”

For Spartan coach David Hillmer, Ye has all of the shots and attributes to be an elite player.

“The direction of her shots is outstanding,” Hillmer said. “She has got all of the shots. The drop, the cut shot, the top spin, the overhead – she has got it all.”

As a team, Sycamore was very young last season, relying on sophomores who now have one more year of experience. One of those juniors is Katherine Sullivan, who is the Spartans’ number two singles player. Both Hillmer and Ye think Sullivan has a chance to qualify for the state tournament. 

“This year, those sophomores are juniors and they are playing better,” Hillmer said. “We look to win conference. That’s our goal.”

The Northern Illinois Big 12 Conference Championship is up for grabs and juniors Kelli Johnson and Jackie Cole have a good chance to make a major impact for Sycamore. 

“We have a super good chance of winning conference this year,” Ye said. “All of the girls on the team have the correct strokes and correct fundamentals. If we try our hardest, we should have no problem winning conference.”

After finishing third last seasonas a team in the St. Charles Sectional, the Spartans may have an outside chance to qualify for state as a team.

“At sectionals, we might be a year away,” said Hillmer.

Ye said that she is looking forward to the season and thinks the team is ready for a run.

“All of the girls on the team have the correct strokes and correct fundamentals,” Ye said. “If we try our hardest, we should have no problem winning conference.”

Girls Tennis Season Preview Capsules

Sycamore Spartans

Last Year: 11-7

Top Returners: Angelina Ye, Jr., Katherine Sullivan, Jr., Kelli Johnson, Jr., Jackie Cole, Jr.

Key Newcomers: Laurynn Mise, So.

Head coach Dave Hillmer: “We hope to win conference. We won conference two years ago and then graduated everybody.”

The lowdown: The Spartans have a great chance to win the Northern Illinois Big 12 Championship this season. Behind two-time sectional champion Angelina Ye, Sycamore has a chance to qualify for state as a team. 

DeKalb Barbs

Last year: 1-12

Top returners: Mary Ellen Green, Jr., Sam Myers-Miller, Jr.,

Key newcomers: Katie Coca, Jr.

Head coach Brad Bjelk: “We have a strong junior population. All of those girls that played and started as sophomores on the fresh/soph team, I am really looking for all to contribute at the varsity level.”

The lowdown: The Barbs are looking to rebuild and improve from a down season in 2013. With two returning starters in Green and Myers-Miller, it is a real possibility to improve on last season’s poor record with the group of girls on the squad. It will be interesting to see if the incoming juniors can continue the success they had on the fresh/soph level and turn it into success on the varsity level.

– Kaneland coach Tim Larsen could not be reached.

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