Girls Tennis: Madrigal twins give Highland flexibility with lineup
By Josh Lichtenfeld Post-Tribune correspondent April 23, 2013 11:06PM
Aby Madrigal, left, and her teammate Vanessa Madrigal cool off during a break in the action during their match against Elizabeth Maxson and Audrey Rang of Fort Wayne Bishop Dwenger. Highlands High School doubles players, Vanessa and Aby Madrigal, competed in the 2012 IHSAA Girls Tennis Championships, winning the doubles title at North Central High School in Indianapolis Saturday, June 9, 2012. | Doug McSchooler~for the Post-Tribune
Updated: May 25, 2013 6:45AM
Twin sisters Aby and Vanessa Madrigal have been significant in raising the bar of expectations for the Highland tennis program.
During their freshman year, playing in the top two singles spots, the duo helped secure the Trojans’ first semistate championship in tennis. In their sophomore year, in 2011, the Trojans again won the regional and Aby Madrigal, with doubles partner Elizabeth Quinn, took the individual doubles state tournament crown. And most recently, the two sisters joined up right before the postseason to bring home another doubles title.
Given this track record, one would probably assume a fiery hunger for more. But, as Aby explains about her final year of IHSAA play, there’s a lighthearted undertone.
“I just want to have fun this year,” the senior said. “I know it sounds cliché, but I just do.”
Following a couple of big graduation losses and the retirement of longtime coach Adam Baez, the Madrigal sisters offer a unique opportunity in a retooling year. The Wright State-bound pair are versatile enough to face the area’s best in singles play, and are an obvious threat in doubles.
First-year coach Jordan Heckard hasn’t wasted time in working with this flexibility. As heavy rains have postponed much of this spring season, when the Trojans have been able to get duels in the coach has shifted around the two standouts.
“We’ve got to experiment a little bit (with the lineup) and with the twins it gives us a lot of options,” he said. “It gives us a chance to kind of see how different girls are doing at different singles and doubles spots.
“The goal for us will be to see our team’s best chances for postseason play.”
And amid some adjusting, Highland (which went 15-2 last spring) is 3-1 through its limited schedule. In the biggest test of the campaign, the NCC squad lost 3-2 against Chesterton, with Vanessa picking up her point at No. 1 singles (a 7-5, 6-1 showing against Meg Modesto) and Aby taking hers at No. 2 singles (6-1, 6-1 over Margaret Shinn). According to Heckard, if their opponents have strong singles players, the sisters will be penciled in at No. 1 and No. 2 singles, respectively.
After all, Vanessa in the top role has been one of the toughest to beat in the area for each of her seasons. And so has Aby, who also has the skill set of aNo. 1 singles players.
“A lot of girls kind of shy away from the net and they want to attack the net (in doubles play),” Heckard said. “They can hit from the baseline and serve and volley, they’re very just complete (singles) players (as well).”
And though Aby, who started playing at a young age with her sister, is looking to have some happy times, the desire to push forward in the high school tournament still exists.
“I know we’re going to keep working hard this year — we’ve done so much and I’m just happy,” she said. “I’m hoping we’re all working hard enough to get as many wins as possible and try to make it out of the postseason.”