Mundelein's Hanne MacDonald stubbornly stuck with playing tennis right-handed but made greater gains when she listened to her father, who is a teaching pro.
Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer
When Mundelein senior tennis player Hanne MacDonald was little, she admitted to having a stubborn streak.
While her dad, Paul, was a teaching professional, that didn't mean she always followed his advice.
"I'm left-handed, but I wanted to play right-handed because that's how everyone else played," MacDonald said with a smile.
MacDonald can afford to smile. She's doing just fine as a right-handed player.
Of course, as she's matured she's made it a point to soak up all her dad's knowledge.
"I started listening to him more, and that's when I started to improve," she said.
Early in her senior season, MacDonald is 7-0 and she has not dropped a set at No. 1 singles. Just as exciting, the team is off to a torrid start.
"This could be the best team in Mundelein history," she said. "I think I have a chance to go out with a bang."
No one deserves that more than MacDonald after the way her junior year ended.
MacDonald was playing her best tennis of the year going into the state tournament. But just one night before the state tournament began, she had an emergency appendectomy.
"My heart just sunk for her," Mustangs coach Jim Drier said. "She had worked so hard for state. I can't even describe how bad I felt for her."
Initially, MacDonald was depressed. But soon her optimistic attitude returned.
"I was just grateful it happened in my junior year instead of senior year," she said.
MacDonald has improved every facet of her game over the past year. She played a busy tournament schedule, which included a pair of victories in a Midwest Closed 18 tournament.
"I'm putting a lot more spin on my serve," she said. "That's helping me start out the point and people can't attack my second serve (anymore)."
MacDonald has always been extremely steady from the baseline.
"She's hitting the ball deeper and with more pace," Drier said. "And she never beats herself."
MacDonald never has to look far for a practice partner. Her younger sister, Ali, played No. 2 singles last year, and this season she will play No. 1 doubles with junior Paige Parola.
Hanne MacDonald is also talented off the court. She's a top student who plans to major in biomedical engineering. MacDonald wants to play in college, at either the Division I or Division III level.
Before she turns her attention to college, though, she hopes to have another crack at the state tournament.
"She's certainly good enough to win (several) matches and play on the second day of the state tournament," Drier said. "She would really enjoy that experience."