Girls Tennis: Lockport’s Kupiec doubles pleasure with state berth
By Jeff Vorva For Sun-Times Media October 20, 2013 9:54PM
Brittney Kuplec, of Lockport. | Gary Middendorf/For Sun-Times Media
Updated: November 22, 2013 6:23AM
Lockport senior Brittney Kupiec didn’t have as much success at the singles level as she would have liked early in the season, so she went back to what she does best.
As a result, she is heading to the state tournament for the first time in her career.
Kupiec returned to doubles play and along with sophomore Hailey Bruining has formed a team that hasn’t been easy to beat. The pair finished third in Saturday’s Plainfield North Sectional.
After missing out on a state berth and settling for cheering on teammates at the state tournament the past couple of years, Kupiec will take part on the big stage starting Thursday.
The Porters, who had won six of the previous seven area sectional titles, lost out to Providence and Joliet Catholic and finished third at Plainfield North. But the Porters will be busy this weekend. They also have freshman singles player Tomi Joe Mansell and the doubles team of Hana Khatib and Jennifer Lee competing at the state tournament.
For Kupiec, the switch back to doubles was not a big deal.
“The games are totally different, but I like doubles more,” she said. “I like working together with a partner and the banter that goes back and forth. It’s easier to not get down on yourself because you have a partner who picks you back up.”
Lockport coach Bob Champlin noticed a change in Kupiec after she returned to doubles. He said he switched her to singles because she was the last of the six sectional players from last year still competing for the Porters. Graduation and other factors caused a roster makeover.
“She played some singles at the beginning of the year for a couple of matches but I think she is more comfortable at doubles,” Champlin said. “She had some success and has been over .500 at that position.
“She was all right with going back to it because this fits her skill set a little bit better. Doubles is a serve, volley and come-to-the-net type of game. You don’t have to cover as much court. She has a nice slice and comes up to the net well and those things help when you are playing doubles.”
Kupiec said she didn’t get serious about playing the sport until eighth grade. She also was a hockey player and swimmer but shed those sports to concentrate on tennis.
“Everyone asks me why I love tennis and I can’t give an answer,” she said. “I guess it’s what I know, so I just keep doing it.’’