The Fenwick tennis team has already proven that this could be a breakout year for the Friars.
Fenwick, made up of several returning players from last season including Aymsley Upp and Julie Comfort, began the season by tying St. Ignatius 4-4 and sweeping through a quad with Bishop McNamara, Marist and Carmel. Both Marist and Carmel were in the top 5 of the East Suburban Catholic Conference last season. The Friars edged both teams 3-2 in the opening week of this campaign.
Fenwick is anchored by returners Upp, Comfort, Mia Mastrageli, Maggie Saltiel, Christina Janda and Audrey Kiefer. Upp, who finished fourth at sectionals last year, is playing No. 2 singles. Comfort has moved into the No. 1 doubles spot with Mastrageli.
“The No. 1 doubles team (Comfort and Mastrageli) has a lot of potential,” said head coach Gerard Sullivan. “Their goal is to get up to the level that we saw last year from the team that won two matches at state. Right now they are solid but need to develop intensity and confidence as their weapons.”
Taking over the No. 1 singles spot is Saltiel. The sophomore played No. 3 doubles last season, and has the most tournament experience on the team.
Others already making an impact include Sheila Mullen and Ceci DiTommaso. Mullen played No. 1 doubles on the sophomore team and DiTommaso played No. 5 doubles on varsity last season.
Sullivan has plenty of depth to his team this season. Seniors Hayley Hudson, Brenna Schillinger and Gabrielle Dougherty bring a wealth of experience to the lineup, as do juniors Mary Kate Binecki and Molly Ray.
“Our goal in conference is to give heavily favored Benet the best match we can, then to try to have everyone on the team medal (top 3 finish),” said Sullivan. “Last year, we went 8-2 in the ESCC, finished third as a team, but 7 of 8 medaled. It’s a sign of our solid lineup, good from top down and not dependent on a few talents.”
Fenwick hosts St. Viator on Sept. 10 (4:30 p.m.) at its home court of Taylor Park on Division and Ridgeland. The team travels to Hinsdale for an invitational on Saturday (8 a.m.). On Oct. 1, the Friars host Nazareth for Senior Player’s Night (4:30 p.m.).