GIRLS TENNIS

Caitlin Kennedy steps up at No. 1 singles for Valparaiso

2013-04-23T18:00:00Z 2013-05-06T21:45:14Z Caitlin Kennedy steps up at No. 1 singles for ValparaisoJim Hunsley jim.hunsley@nwi.com, (219) 548-4356 nwitimes.com

Caitlin Kennedy is enjoying her time at No. 1 singles for Valparaiso, but she also wants twin sister Kelly to return to health.

Kelly Kennedy was an Indiana High School Tennis Coaches Association Second Team All-State selection at No. 1 singles for the Times No. 4 Vikings last season, but she injured the sacroiliac joint in her hip in the offseason.

She's played in a few matches — none at No. 1 singles -- and her status is day to day.

"I miss practicing with her," Caitlin said. "She's doing some physical therapy now, and she's getting better."

Caitlin Kennedy, an honorable mention IHSTECA selection, was 15-3 at No. 2 singles last year, and she's 4-1 at No. 1 this spring.

"I definitely thought I might be fine (at No. 1)," said Caitlin, who was  9-4 at No. 2 singles as a freshman. "A lot of the girls that I played were at No. 2."

She attributes a lot of her success to those hitting sessions with Kelly.

"It's good to hit against her power," Caitlin said, "and I think it makes it easier for me to play with opponents who have a power game.

"I don't mind playing behind Kelly. That would suit me perfectly fine."

At this point, it's uncertain if Caitlin will return back to No. 2 singles. Coach Tim Shideler believes the twins are very comparable with their skill levels -- even though they have different styles.

Caitlin is left-handed and plays a more deliberate game, while Kelly is right-handed and tries to end points quickly with her power game.

"She could've played No. 1 before; they're really close," Shideler said. "Caitlin is doing a great job for us now.

"Her game is quite deceptive."

Caitlin has added power parts to her overall game, adding to her competitive level.

"I've worked a lot on my serve," she said, "and I'm trying for more winners. That was my goal. I had to hit some shots with more power."

Both sisters are also excelling off the court as members of the National Honor Society and student council.

"They're just hard workers," Shideler said. "They care about what they do."

"Kelly has won some great matches for us before, and I'm hoping the best for Caitlin. She can handle it."

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