Clinton Township Chippewa Valley tennis players cheer at the end of a recent practice. Chippewa has shared a Macomb Area Conference Blue Division championship with Fraser High in each of the last two seasons.

Clinton Township Chippewa Valley tennis players cheer at the end of a recent practice. Chippewa has shared a Macomb Area Conference Blue Division championship with Fraser High in each of the last two seasons.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes


Chippewa Valley girls tennis looking for more success

By: Mark Vest | Fraser - Clinton Township Chronicle | Published April 16, 2018

 Chippewa Valley sophomore Kira Wiegand takes part in a recent practice. Chippewa coach Joe Silbernagel said the program’s growth has been “kind of astounding.”

Chippewa Valley sophomore Kira Wiegand takes part in a recent practice. Chippewa coach Joe Silbernagel said the program’s growth has been “kind of astounding.”

Photo by Patricia O'Blenes

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CLINTON TOWNSHIP — When asked to describe the personality of his team, Clinton Township Chippewa Valley girls tennis coach Joe Silbernagel said, “they’re nice girls, but they like to win.”

Chippewa’s tennis program has been doing a good share of that over the past couple seasons, as the Big Reds have shared a Macomb Area Conference Blue Division championship with Fraser High in each of the last two years.

During that span, Chippewa was 18-2-4 overall and 7-0-3 in MAC Blue dual meet competition.

The Big Reds also won the MAC Blue division tournament last season.

At press time, the Big Reds were 2-0 overall this year.

Silbernagel said the goal is to be a champion again this year. That goal may also have special significance for some of his players.

“We have two seniors who have won two championships, and that would be a great send-off,” Silbernagel said. “That’s Hunnah Joseph and Danielle Gulas. … This is their fourth year, so that would be a great thing. And we have two other kids from two years ago who started out as freshmen at doubles, and that’s Antonina Sanna and Olivia Bradley. All four have been part of the two championship teams.”

Sanna and Gulas are Chippewa’s No. 1 and No. 2 singles players, respectively, with Joseph and Bradley making up the team’s No. 1 doubles tandem.

Their teammates are Kira Wiegand (No. 3 singles), Alex Costache (No. 4 singles), Lola DeVougas and Cassie Pallo (No. 2 doubles), Grace Russo and Abigail Pino (No. 3 doubles) and Ariana Lidtke and Analise Robinson (No. 4 doubles).

Aside from the talent they have on the court, the Big Reds may have something else going for them that can help in the pursuit of a third consecutive MAC Blue title.

“I think team (bonding is) a big thing for this year for this team,” Silbernagel said. “I think that’ll help in the long term. … I think this team likes one another and gets along. That’s always a good thing.”

What’s also a good thing for Chippewa is the number of girls that have been coming out for the program. Silbernagel said Chippewa had 111 players try out.

Of those, he said 80 are spread out over the program’s four teams (varsity, JV, JV B and JV freshmen).

Silbernagel said only 13 girls were on the team in 2000.

“It’s been kind of astounding,” he said. “Last year, we had 76; this year, we have 80. It’s been growing each year. The problem is, now we don’t have (the) facilities for any more than that.”

Up next, Chippewa plays at 4 p.m. April 20 at home against Sterling Heights High.

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