Prep Sports

Iowa City West's Koch sisters enter state tennis tournament at No. 1

Emma Koch set to defend doubles title against fierce competition, this time with sister Audrey as her partner

Iowa City West's Emma Koch returns the ball during the Class 2A quarterfinals of the 2016 state tennis championships. Koch is aiming to defend her state doubles championship this week in Iowa City, this time with sister Audrey as her partner. (Cliff Jette/The Gazette)
Iowa City West's Emma Koch returns the ball during the Class 2A quarterfinals of the 2016 state tennis championships. Koch is aiming to defend her state doubles championship this week in Iowa City, this time with sister Audrey as her partner. (Cliff Jette/The Gazette)

IOWA CITY — Iowa City West’s Emma Koch was part of the Class 2A state doubles championship team last season.

The junior will attempt to repeat this year, with a different, albeit familiar partner. Koch and her sister, freshman Audrey, were awarded the No. 1 seed for the tournament, slated for Wednesday and Thursday at the Hawkeye Recreation and Tennis Center on the University of Iowa campus.

Emma Koch combined with Abby Jans to take home the title last season. It has been a seamless transition playing with her sister. The Kochs have not lost a match this year, either in singles or doubles. West Coach Amie Villarini was pleased to see the sisters get the No. 1 seed.

“I was hopeful that the coaches would vote Emma and Audrey as the top seed,” she said. “Emma is a returning state champion and Audrey is just as strong of a partner as Abby Jans was last year.

“They are playing solid doubles and learning and improving with every match,” Villarini added. “They are realizing their potential and are building more confidence.”

It won’t be an easy road to a title for the Koch sisters. Dowling’s Anna Wanek (third) and partner Kaylyn Cheoborad (seventh) both placed playing with different partners and earned the No. 2 seed. Urbandale’s Brooke Dannenfeldt and Mylea Cole, the No. 3 seed, finished fifth last year. The Ames duo of Caitlyn Hanulikova and Chloe Wilson is seeded fourth.

“Dowling and Urbandale traditionally have strong doubles teams,” Villarini said. “Ames is having a good year so I imagine they will also be a strong contender.”

ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENT

In the singles draw, last year’s champion and runner-up (Emilia Porubcin of Bettendorf and Prairie’s Vale Caro) have both graduated, but the next three finishers, Lily Feldman (Pleasant Valley), Davi Patterson (Boone) and Cari Naanep (Johnston) return. Patterson was awarded the top seed, followed by Feldman and Naanep. All three are undefeated in singles matches this season. Talented Ames freshman Arunadee Fernando is also unbeaten and seeded fourth.

West’s Jessica Moonjely was not one of the top four seeds, but could be a dangerous opponent. She is undefeated in singles play, but most of her matches came in the No. 3 position behind the Kochs. Villarni believes the sophomore could more than hold her own against the top contenders.

“Jessica gets a lot of practice with Emma and shows she can hang and play with one of the best players in the state,” Villarni said. “It will be interesting to see how she measures up to the seeded players. I think she has been gaining confidence in her game. I definitely think out of the 16 singles players she is one of the top eight.”

Iowa City High’s Bihotza James-Lejarcegui, who finished seventh at state last year, enters this year’s meet as a regional runner-up having lost in straight sets to Moonjely in the regional final.

Villarni doesn’t see much of an advantage for her players with the meet being held at a familiar venue, unless weather becomes a factor.

“Indoor facilities can be drastically different from other indoor courts in terms of lighting, ceiling height, temperature, and background colors,” she said. “So if there is rain and we go indoors, I think we may have a slight home court advantage.”

In Class 1A at Byrnes Park in Waterloo, the Xavier duo of Nina Marquardt and Emily Jasper will be part of the doubles draw, qualifying as a regional runner-up.

Area girls' state tennis qualifiers

CLASS 2A

SINGLES

Regional champion

Jessica Moonjely Iowa City West

Regional runners-up

Bihotza James-Lejarcegui, Iowa City High

Anya Postnikov, Cedar Rapids Prairie

DOUBLES

Regional champion

Emma Koch/Audrey Koch, Iowa City West

Regional runners-up

Shelby Cook/Veena Venkaesh, Cedar Rapids Kennedy

Whitney Guthrie/Piper Boysen, Linn Mar

Maddie Slagle/Emma Lassen, Cedar Rapids Jefferson 

CLASS 1A

SINGLES

None

DOUBLES

Regional runners-up

Nina Marquardt/Emily Jasper, Cedar Rapids Xavier

Carina Yee/Vita Domnenko, Decorah

Girls' state tennis team tournament

SATURDAY, JUNE 2

CLASS 2A

At Iowa City

Hawkeye Recreation and Tennis Center

Semifinals

9 a.m. - No. 1 Iowa City West vs. No. 4 West Des Moines Dowling

9 a.m. - No. 2 Pleasant Valley vs. No. 3 Ames

Note: Consolation and championship matches begin at 2 p.m.

CLASS 1A

At Waterloo

Byrnes Park

Semifinals

9 a.m. - No. 1 Waterloo Columbus vs. No. 4 Glenwood

9 a.m. - No. 2 Pella vs. No. 3 Cedar Rapids Xavier

Note: Consolation and championship matches begin at 2 p.m.

Give us feedback

We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

Or if you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.

CONTINUE READING

Give us feedback

We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

Or if you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.