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Recruiting Feature
Countdown: Blue Chip Girls

October is rolling along, and Signing Day on November 9th grows ever closer. There are only two weeks left until the Fall Signing Period, and both high school seniors and college coaches are scrambling.

At this time of year, all eyes are on the Blue Chip recruits. A fully-funded Division I women's tennis program only allows 8 players on scholarship, and so coaches want to lock up their top targets - the Blue Chips - as early as possible.

TennisRecruiting.net has been on the phone with these Blue Chip senior girls to find out where they are in the recruiting process. Decisions cannot be finalized until November 9, but now is a good time to check in on these top players.


Blue Chip Status

The table below shows the Blue Chip athletes and their current recruiting status. The Commitment column shows whether the recruit has made a verbal commitment or is undecided, while the Interests column indicates schools of interest.

Helen Altick LA   Open
Usue Arconada PR   Open
Kelly Chen CA Duke Duke
Abigail Chiu TX Announcing December Open
Morgan Coppoc OK Georgia Georgia
Kayla Day CA   Open
Caroline Dolehide IL   Open
Victoria Emma FL Florida Florida
Michaela Gordon CA   Open
Annette Goulak CA Georgia Georgia
Asuka Kawai IL Illinois Illinois, DePaul, Rice, Ohio State, Princeton, Purdue, Wisconsin
Lexi Keberle WI Wisconsin Wisconsin
Sofia Kenin FL   Open
Isabella Lorenzini IL Michigan Michigan
Samantha Martinelli CO   Open
Kylie McKenzie AZ   Open
Madeline Meredith AL Auburn Auburn, Georgia, LSU, Wake Forest
Amanda Meyer FL Vanderbilt Vanderbilt, Dartmouth, Duke, North Carolina, Princeton
Raquel Pedraza CA   Open
Kariann Pierre-Louis FL   Open
Tatum Rice AR Announcing November Open
Dominique Schaefer CA   Open
Stephanie Schrage NJ Announcing December Open
Sofia Sewing FL   Open
Janice Shin TX   Open
Katie Swan KS   Open
Sydney Van Alphen CA USC USC
Christie Wan CA Announcing November California, Columbia, Princeton, Stanford, USC, Yale

Slow Going

When we visited with the boys last week, we noted that eighteen of the 28 Blue Chip boys had made commitments.

On the girls' side, we have 28 Blue Chips as well, but they seem to be taking their time with their college decisions. To date, only ten girls - just over half the number of the boys - have announced their commitments.


Double Dawg Dare

Georgia coach Jeff Wallace has not had any issues on the recruiting trail so far. He has already attracted two of the nine committed Blue Chip girls to Athens for Fall 2017.

We already heard from the two commits - Morgan Coppoc and Annette Goulak - in a profile piece earlier this month.


SEC Leads Way

The ten committed girls are heading to schools in three conferences, with the SEC gaining the lion's share.

In addition to two commits heading to Georgia, Blue Chip girls have committed to Auburn, Florida, and Vanderbilt - with the SEC laying claim to five of the ten recruits.

Close behind the SEC is the Big 10 with three Blue Chip commitments, while the PAC-12 and ACC each have one.


War Eagles Keep Meredith

When a family has deep ties to a college, the kids usually have a natural attraction to that school. That was not the case for Blue Chip senior and Birmingham native Madeline Meredith.

Madeline Meredith is staying in-state at Auburn
"It's funny. Almost everyone in my family has gone to Auburn - my mom, my grandfather, my grandmother, my aunts and uncles," said Meredith. "I have been raised on Auburn football. But, because of this I wanted to go anywhere but Auburn. When I first started looking at schools I didn't even want to visit Auburn because I wanted to move and play tennis far away from home."

But Meredith had meetings with the AU coaching staff that changed her mind.

"I met [Assistant Coach] Chris [Hooshyar] and [Head Coach] Lauren [Spencer]. I really didn't even want to like them," joked Meredith. "But I liked everything they talked about. I agreed with all their philosophies about tennis and collegiate athletics."

Spencer and Hooshyar took a measured but effective approach in their recruiting of the top-ranked Alabama senior.

"They let me know very early that they wanted me to join the Auburn program, but they never pushed me into making an early decision," Meredith continued. "I think that deep down they knew I was going to choose Auburn, but they never put any pressure on me to make that decision until I was ready. I talked to both coaches a lot during my recruiting time and felt a deep connection to both of them."

Meredith loved the coaches and the team, but the academic offerings at Auburn sealed the deal.

"I really liked just about everything about the team, but I was torn because I didn't want to stay in Alabama. Then I found out that Auburn has one of the best aeronautical and flight programs in the United States. There was no other school that had great tennis, awesome coaches, and the field I wanted to major in."

The Tigers, who also picked up a Blue Chip commitment last year in Taylor Russo, are getting an experienced player in Meredith. Over the past year, the 6'1" right-hander reached the semifinals of the Atlanta ITF, was a finalist at the Southern Closed, posted a 3-1 record in the USTA Girls 18 National Team Championships, and won four matches at the Girls 18 Nationals in San Diego.

But Meredith's favorite tennis moment comes from a long time ago.

"I am probably the most proud of my first Southern Closed win. I was twelve years old and had never won a big tournament before. I never even considered myself in the running for that tournament. I don't think I was even seeded. I beat the No. 2 seed in the second round, and I remember making a decision after that match that I was going to win that tournament. I was determined, and I did it. My family had a big cookie cake waiting for me when I got home. I ended up wearing the same purple tennis outfit that I wore in the finals in every tournament for the next four years."

Meredith also has big plans when she arrives on campus next Fall.

"I would love to earn All American my freshman year. I would also love to be part of an NCAA championship team. That would be the greatest accomplishment."


Keberle Stays Home

Kelcy McKenna was named head coach of the women's tennis program at the University of Wisconsin on July 1, and she is arriving at an excellent time. Lexi Keberle, from nearby West Bend, Wisc., is the first Blue Chip recruit to commit to Wisconsin in the history of the program.

Lexi Keberle has committed to Wisconsin
Of course, it didn't hurt that Keberle is a household name in Wisconsin junior tennis.

"I wanted to play for my state," said Keberle. "Nielsen Stadium - where the Badgers play - is the same place I won two high school championships the two years I played in high school. Now I get to play there for four more years."

Wisconsin last won the Big 10 title in 1996, and their most recent NCAA Tournament appearance came in 2005, but Keberle is excited to be part of a new chapter in Badger tennis.

"I hope I can bring attention to Wisconsin tennis by helping the Badgers be a top team in the Big 10 and getting them to the NCAAs. Boys in Wisconsin want to be Badger football players, and I'd love to have girls ten and under make playing for the Badger women's tennis team part of their dreams."

Keberle was articulate about her excitement for the new coaching staff.

"The fear of committing early for a player is, 'will the coach be around?' I committed in August before my junior year, developed a strong relationship with the former coach, and suddenly she was gone.

"But one of the great things about top D-I schools like Wisconsin is the AD, and Barry Alvarez is one of the best. He's committed to winning in every sport - which starts with finding top coaches dedicated to winning. He brought in [Head Coach] Kelcy McKenna and [Assistant Coach] Megan Falcon. They were top NCAA players, are young, incredibly focused and will take Badger tennis to another level."

Keberle appreciates the time and effort McKenna and Falcon have put in early in their tenure.

"As busy as they were this summer, [the coaches] came and watched me play at a number of tournaments," she continued. "Winning as a team obviously means each player must be successful, and that is their philosophy. They want to help every player reach their potential. I cannot wait to get on the court with them."

Keberle will bring a tremendous work ethic to Madison, which she learned during her years as a competitive soccer player.

"I had the same soccer coach for nine years - from age five to fourteen. My coach taught me that demanding excellence of yourself every minute while practicing is the one thing that successful athletes and teams have in common.

"The USTA and TRN are junior tennis for kids in the US. If you are a serious player, you compete in tournaments and evaluate your level of play. When I was thirteen and my primary sport was still soccer, I didn't know what TRN was - and I barely knew what the USTA was. But I learned quickly in my first L2 tourney in Ohio - where I drew the No. 1 seed - how good the players were. I'm most proud of the fact that my goal when I started USTA - as a 2- or 3-star - was to compete with the players who were just ahead of me. Now that I have become a 'blue chip', I have the utmost respect for every one of them, their passion and dedication, as I know how hard they worked to earn and stay at the 'blue chip' level."


Here and There

Scattershooting through the list...

  • Power Up: The numbers are small so far so as to be somewhat anecdotal, but all ten commitments from Blue Chip recruits are to schools in our Power Six conferences.
  • Close to the Vest: As you can see from the chart, most Blue Chip girls who have not yet committed have not revealed schools of interest. We anticipate some girls to remain that way for some time as they ponder professional tennis options.
  • Feast and Famine: Illinois welcomes its first Blue Chip commitment since 2011 in Asuka Kawai. On the flip side, Michigan has attracted at least one Blue Chip prospect for the past four years.
  • No Place Like Home: Five of the ten committed Blue Chip recruits are heading to in-state schools. That is a good sign for California programs since there are five uncommitted Blue Chip recruits from that state.

Update During Signing Week

As we mentioned last week, it is still early, and we expect many of these young women to make decisions about their future very soon. We'll stay in touch with all the Blue Chips to keep our commitment list up-to-date.

And we'll be back with another roundup article right before Signing Day.


Countdown Keeps Coming ...

Our Countdown continues tomorrow morning when we hear from Five-Star senior Alex Angyalosy of Boca Raton, Fla., who has committed to the Texas Tech Red Raiders. Check out that article - and all the other great content that TRN and GAMMA have for you in our Countdown to Signing Day!



GAMMA is proud to sponsor the Countdown to Signing Day series of articles at TennisRecruiting.net.

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Colette Lewis has covered topflight junior events as a freelance journalist for over a decade. Read her weekly column, follow her on Twitter, and and find more of her daily commentary at ZooTennis.

Page updated on Sunday, October 01, 2017
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