URBANA – Katarina Marjanovic's 2008 tennis season went so well that logic would suggest the senior follow that old common-sense axiom: If it ain't broke, don't fix it.
Marjanovic, The News-Gazette's reigning two-time Area Player of the Year, is back for what figures to be another sterling season. The key to her improvement as a junior involves maintaining her on-court focus and steady approach.
"Just doing the same," Urbana coach Melissa Welch said. "Keeping her focused and continuing to have another great season like she did last year. And then hoping that, at the state tournament, she does even better than what she did last year."
Marjanovic was 26-3 a year ago, including three wins at the state tournament. But ultimate success in that event remains one final frontier for Marjanovic, a multiple Big 12 Conference and sectional titlist. Last fall, Marjanovic won twice in the main draw before going 1-1 in the consolation bracket. She has ample motivation. Welch said Marjanovic has had discussions with several colleges about playing at the next level. An eye-opening showing at state frequently furthers a player's college prospects as well.
The Tigers are hoping Marjanovic will have some company in Chicago in late October. Nearly the entire lineup returns from a year ago, led by No. 2 player Allie Shapira, No. 3 Elise Ellinger, No. 4 Christina Helregel and No. 5 Stacy Peters.
Shapira, Helregel and Peters are seniors. Ellinger is a junior.
"We've played some matches, but I don't feel we have a true sense yet," Welch said. "I feel like we've got some matches this week and next week that will give me a better idea of where we are. I know what I think we're capable of, but it will be nice to see if we actually (do)."
A glimpse around the Big 12
CENTRAL: Kathleen Rowland and Nelli Golmeeva have taken the roles of the Nos. 1 and 2 singles players for the Maroons, who picked up a 5-4 win against Mattoon this week.
CENTENNIAL: Freshman Allison Hansen has been sensational at the top singles spot for the Chargers. She has teamed with veteran Maria Mears to form the top doubles tandem.
DANVILLE: The Vikings’ lineup is dominated by juniors, with the No. 1 (Emma Peck), No. 3 (Bethany Sexton), No. 4 (Stephanie Rollins) and No. 6 (Kassandra Patino) spots being held by juniors.