Girls Tennis: Providence duo a natural doubles team
By Dennis Nelson For Sun-Times Media August 21, 2012 10:02PM
Maggie Ruane, left, and her sister, Kelly Ruane, Providence, during fall sports photo day at Lincoln-Way East in Frankfort, Il on Saturday August 19, 2012. | Matt Marton~Sun-Times Media
Girls Tennis 2012
TEAMS TO WATCH
Providence: Highly touted freshman Hannah Davis, junior twins Kelly and Maggie Ruane and senior Jamie Noonan and Co. are primed and ready to challenge the East Suburban Catholic Conference and area’s best.
Joliet Catholic: Sisters Harley (senior) and McCoy (freshman) Hutchinson lead the Angels.
Lockport: Three-time state qualifier Kelsey Forkin, a senior, and doubles partner, sophomore Katarina Samardzija, lead the talented and deep Porters lineup.
PLAYERS TO WATCH (in alphabetical order)
Haley Collins, Coal City; Hannah Davis, Providence; Andie Doyle, Lincoln-Way East; Kelsey Forkin, Lockport; Grace Hilgenbrink, Lincoln-Way Central; Harley Hutchinson, Joliet Catholic; McCoy Hutchinson, Joliet Catholic; Jamie Noonan, Providence; Nneka Onyejiaka, Bolingbrook; Hope Ritter, Lincoln-Way West; Kelly Ruane, Providence; Maggie Ruane, Providence; Caitlyn Shea, Joliet West
Updated: September 23, 2012 6:12AM
Opposing players might think they’re seeing double when they face the No. 1 doubles team at Providence.
That’s because the Celtics’ top tandem is composed of twins Kelly and Maggie Ruane.
The two advanced to the 2011 state meet as Plainfield East Sectional champions after being teamed late in the season.
A year of offseason tennis, the experience of playing two state matches and the confidence that comes with a year of maturity could not only pave the way for a breakout season for the Ruanes, but the Celtics, as well.
“We really have high expectations this year,” Providence coach Ben Thompson said. “We have the twins coming back, a freshman this year who is really pushing everybody and a lot of seniors coming back. We have three of the four state qualifiers back, so we’re looking forward to a good year.”
Aside from the Ruane twins, who are juniors, Providence has experience coming back in state qualifier Jamie Noonan, a senior, and welcomes talented freshman Hannah Davis to the lineup. She could be at No. 1 singles.
It could add up to something special as the Celtics enter the 2012 season as the top-ranked team in the Joliet area.
“We have a lot of girls coming up from the (junior varsity) who played a lot of tennis over the summer, and a pretty good freshman,” Kelly Ruane said. “We want to finish in the top 15 at state. It’s going to take a lot of work, but we can do it.”
“Our goal as a team is to break in the top 20 this year at state,” Thompson said. “We’re very excited about the season.
The Ruane twins split two matches at the state meet last year and played a lot of tennis in preparation for what they hope will be a breakout year this season.
“After state last year, we knew we had to put in a lot of work over the summer,” Maggie said.
“They won the sectional, a couple of matches in the main draw at state, played a lot of tournaments over the summer, so they really want to make their mark this year,” Thompson said.
“We practiced a lot since last year and made a lot of improvement,” Kelly said.
“We practice about two hours every day,” Maggie said.
“They really haven’t played a whole lot of doubles matches together,” Thompson said. “They’ve made huge strides and keep getting better and better. It’s going to be an exciting season.”
Better net play this year could propel the twins to rock-star status.
“We need to not be afraid of making mistakes in practice and get our technique down,” Kelly said.
Noonan also split two doubles matches at the state meet a year ago, and Davis is a United States Tennis Association tour regular.
“All the girls are really stepping up and doing their best every day,” Thompson said. “We’re in a really tough conference with a lot of tough teams. That’s a big advantage and help for us, playing against so many tough opponents. It really makes them mentally tough when the sectional rolls around.”