Collinsville aims for improvement despite losing five seniors
September 13, 2012By Chris Kusnerick of Collinsville High School
When it comes to the pecking order in Southwestern Conference girls tennis, Collinsville is several notches below perennial powers Edwardsville and Belleville West. But the Kahoks are making steady progress, and that’s all coach Emma Houshmand can ask for.
“We got an academic award (from the IHSA), so that tells you the quality of girls we had last year,” Houshmand said. “We ended up fifth in the conference, which is pretty good because it has some really good tennis teams.
“We lost five seniors from that team and now we only have one and she’s not a varsity player. We’re a little lower on numbers this year with only 12 girls. We have only two freshmen, but hopefully in time we’ll do some building to the program through summer camps and other things.”
Sophomore Olivia Scaturro, who was the No. 3 singles player last season, moves up to No. 1 while sophomore Maddie Swiecicki moves from No. 4 to No. 2. Rounding out the top five, in order, are juniors Alexandra Wimmersted, Jessica Ledford and Alyssa Loyet. Junior Marissa Wenos and sophomores Grace Rukavina and Sarah Scrum have been rotating at the sixth spot.
Doubles combinations include Scaturro and Swiecicki at No. 1, Wimmerstedt and Ledford at No. 2.
“Alyssa Loyet is pretty solid at No. 3 doubles, but I’ve been switching her partners because I haven’t found the perfect pair yet,” Houshmand said. “Whoever is not playing singles, I usually put into doubles. I might stick with Marissa for No. 3 doubles because she and Alyssa are starting to talk and work the best on the court. That would leave Sarah and Grace alternating at No. 6 singles.”
Collinsville’s first tournament was supposed to be the Edwardsville Invitational on Aug. 31 and Sept. 1, but that event was cancelled due to rain. Heading into Monday’s home match against Althoff, the Kahoks were 2-3 in dual matches, with wins over Granite City and Civic Memorial.
“This is going to be a loaded week for us, with matches against Highland (Tuesday) and O’Fallon (Wednesday) plus the Riverbend Tournament this weekend at Alton,” Houshmand said. “With low numbers, it can be tough to play that many matches, but it hasn’t been as hot to start the season as it was last year.
“We’re developing and learning and hopefully we can keep improving. We were 7-8 in dual matches last year, which is better than usual for us, and we’d like to maintain that.”