According to Riverside-Brookfield High School girls tennis coach Bob Hegner, the not so secret to the Bulldogs’ success has been squads typically with little star power but tremendous depth. The Bulldogs’ formula for winning has been to perform relatively well at the top singles and doubles spots and then rack up victories in the lower flights of competition.
While the “strength in numbers” approach has served RBHS well and fundamentally will remain the same, several players have distinguished themselves as a cut above the rest. Carlie Wilson, Victoria Bojovic and Nina Dorenbos all claim winning records in singles as RBHS is off to a 9-5 start this season.
No.1 singles Wilson is 11-7, while Bojovic sports a 14-4 record at No.2 singles. Dorenbos, who also comprises half of the Bulldogs’ top doubles team, is 12-6 at third singles.
“I’ve been working on my game and just trying to keep my focus during matches,” Wilson said. “At No.1 singles sometimes it’s hard because you’re playing good players, but I just strive to play my best and never give up.”
Like Wilson, Bojovic is a developing player with nice upside.
“This season has gone better for me than last year,” Bojovic said. “I have really worked on my conditioning and also improved my footwork. Carlie and I both take tennis pretty seriously. We’re always looking to improve.”
Wilson, a sophomore, and Bojovic, a junior, represent both the present and short-term future of RBHS tennis. Both players have solid groundstrokes and move well. They typically practice against one another as a way to collectively improve.
“Carlie and Victoria are baseline players,” Hegner said. “Volleying is not a virtue for either of them, but then again that’s common for most players today. Even net play in the doubles game today is not the same as it was in the past. Things have changed quite a bit in tennis due to the technology of the racquets and the training, so I’ve altered my coaching a bit.”
While tennis styles of play may have changed a bit, coachable players are always welcomed. Dorenbos certainly fits the bill in that regard. She’s a soft-spoken person who leads by example.
“It’s pretty relaxed with Coach Hegner,” Dorenbos said. “He’ll give us coaching tips here and there. I started playing tennis in sixth grade and really enjoyed it.”
At No.1 doubles, Dorenbos and partner/fellow senior Nicole Sinnott have been a good match. Kaylyn Landahl and Caroline Willinger have also contributed as the Bulldogs’ No.2 doubles team.
“Whenever we’re down a set, we can usually come back to win,” Dorenbos said. “I like doubles because the points are quicker and you get to work with a partner. I try to keep the ball in play instead of just going for winners.”
Dorenbos’ value is not lost on her teammates.
“Nina is a really experienced and versatile player,” Bojovic said. “She’s a good combo singles and doubles player which really helps our lineup. She’s also a pretty calm, composed player.”
The Bulldogs host their invite on Saturday, Sep. 27 (8:30 a.m.). RBHS has already won a pair of invites this season, at Bolingbrook and at Willowbrook.