Kaneland’s Madi Jurcenko, Jelly Emmanouil complete state run

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Similar interests have connected Madi Jurcenko and Jelly Emmanouil over the years.

Shopping for matching tennis outfits, a shared love for the movie “Bridesmaids.”

It usually was intertwined, always leading back to tennis.

“We’d quote lines from the movie to keep us loose during matches,” Emmanouil said, “like the one where they say ‘Get your stuff together.’”

Kaneland’s wildly successful doubles team saw their careers come to a close Saturday with a 6-4, 6-3 loss to Young’s Sloane Williams and Kendall Scruggs in the state meet’s back draw in Rolling Meadows.

Kaneland had advanced to the quarterfinals Friday for the first time in their third state meet together.

“Thinking about it makes me sad, but all good things must come to an end,” Emmanouil said. “It’s been a long journey, bittersweet now that it’s over.”

Kaneland beat Young in a three-set third-round match Friday. Saturday just wasn’t the Knights’ day.

Showing up at 7:30 a.m., they were given just a 10-minute warmup instead of the usual 30.

They immediately fell behind 5-0 in the first set before mounting a valiant rally.

“It took a while for us to wake up,” Jurcenko said. “We made mistakes we normally don’t make. We play them 10 times, we probably each win five.”

The Jurcenko family, Emmanouil and fellow senior Sammie Schrepferman certainly put Kaneland tennis on the map.

Jurcenko’s older sister Lindsay and Amelia Napiorkowski were the school’s first state qualifiers five years ago.

Madi Jurcenko and Napiorkowski made it the next year. Jurcenko and Emmanouil took it one step further, going to state three consecutive times, won conference in all three years. They won a sectional together last week.

Schrepferman reached the third round for the first time this year.

Jurcenko first met on the tennis court at opposite ends, facing each other at a USTA event as fifth-graders.

A year later they were middle school mates. The match was finalized four years later.

Jurcenko and Emmanouil wrapped up with over 100 career wins, 35 this year.

“We communicate well on the court, but outside of tennis we don’t hang out all the time,” Jurcenko said. “I think that helps. We’re able to laugh at ourselves when we make mistakes.”

Jurcenko’s competitive career is likely over; she hopes to attend Marquette or Ohio State to become a physician’s assistant. Emmanouil, who plans to major in finance, hopes to play – perhaps at Seattle University.

“To go out this way, to make it this far, it’s exactly what we wanted,” Jurcenko said. “It was a great run.”

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