When IVCC women’s tennis coach Julie Milota looks at her roster, it’s difficult to rank her players.
“We have one sophomore back in Carly Arjes,” Milota said. “She was a national qualifier last year in singles and doubles. She went to the (national) semifinals in both. She should do quite well this year. We have almost her level of play throughout the entire team. We’re looking really good. We’re very excited about the season.”
With such parity among the players, Milota said it’s challenging to determine the lineup.
“Any one of these players can play any part of our lineup,” Milota said. “They are very close when they play each other. They’re neck and neck. It’s always a tiebreaker. They’re very close in their level of play, which is a very good level of play. It’s going to be great once I can figure out the lineup.”
Joining Arjes on the team are a talented group of freshmen led by a foursome of La Salle-Peru graduates in Grace Filipiak, Michelle Windy, Nina Perry and Tyler Kroll.
Filipiak was one of the NewsTribune Girls Tennis Players of the Year last fall with doubles partner Arisu Oya after the Lady Cavalier duo qualified for the state tournament.
Windy was a state qualifier as a junior at L-P with doubles partner Maddy Freeman, Perry was an NT All-Area pick last fall as L-P’s No. 1 singles player and Kroll played No. 3 doubles for L-P.
“They know each other very well,” Milota said about the L-P group. “I think (L-P coach) Aaron Guenther has done a great job preparing them. That helps. They all play a very aggressive doubles game. That’s fantastic. That’s one less thing I have to teach. They are very net ready. They really want to come to net even as singles players. A lot of times with women, we don’t always get that aggressive net play, but we do with these girls. They’re all court players, which is really great to see.”
POTENTIAL AT NO. 6
Rounding out the lineup for the Eagles is Isabel Lueck.
Lueck moved to the area with her parents from Wisconsin and is attending IVCC after being homeschooled.
“I haven’t actually watched her play yet,” Milota said. “We’ll see where she’s at. She’s pretty athletic. She never played competitive tennis because of the homeschooling.”
FOCUSING ON DEVELOPMENT
When asked for the team’s goals, Milota didn’t list a number of wins or qualifying for nationals. Instead, she wants the team to focus on developing skills and mentality.
“The goal for me as the coach is to make them as consistent as possible, give them some aggressive tools they can use in their singles matches - because a lot of them haven’t played singles that much - and make them confident in those aggressive tools they have whether it be their forehand down the line or a forehand cross court,” Milota said. “I have to make them recognize their strengths and utilize them when they need to.
“Their goals should be to keep their focus on consistency. They want to rush things a little bit, which is very typical out of high school. That’s a good goal for them. They have to make sure to take their time, set up the point and let the point happen.”