Six players, all related. That is the 2021 state-bound Teutopolis girls' tennis team.
Every member in the top-six are either sisters or first cousins, with all but one preparing for Class 1A State in Chicagoland, beginning Thursday.
"I feel like that's made this season even more special than it already may have been," Teutopolis head coach Allison Vogt said. "The girls have so much in common. They have so much history together on the tennis court and off. I've also been around these girls and working with them since about the fourth grade; a lot of them have done park district since they were young."
Grace Hoene opened up singles play against St. Thomas More's Maddy Swisher. She is the only Lady Shoes' individual to qualify.
First cousins with doubles qualifier Macy Probst, both Hoene and Probst said they feed off each other, which is a reason for their success.
Hoene commented, "We were always compared to each other, so we would always work harder based on what we were doing."
Probst added, "Growing up, our families put a lot of pressure on us. We always wanted to beat each other in everything, so we were constantly trying to one-up each other all the time, so we always made ourselves better by doing that."
As a senior, Hoene's career with the Lady Shoes came to a close Thursday. She lost back-to-back matches, finishing her season with a 23-4 record.
Probst, on the other hand, continues her quest for a state championship. She and fellow senior Isabelle Hemmen currently sit at 27-0 on the season after the first day of play.
Like Probst, Isabelle — the sister to Julian and first cousin to Olivia and Lexi Will — also brings that same competitive background that her partner has, but it doesn't stop at doubles. She has found success in singles play, too.
This year, Isabelle is 35-0 between doubles and singles matches and 76-0 in the past two years after the first day of the state tournament.
Yet, even with all the winning in both, doubles is still her forte.
"I like playing doubles more because I like playing the net, and it's easier to get shots in at the net when you're in doubles because you have someone covering you," Isabelle said. "I also like playing with a partner. I don't need someone to pump me up, but I like pumping other people up."
As for Will, aside from cheerleading, tennis is the only sport she plays and, like most of her family members, is a sport that she started playing at a young age through the Teutopolis Park District.
"I started through the T-Town Park District, and then Isabelle and I went and played all the time in USTA events and all through junior high. We made it to Indianapolis in eighth grade and went and played there," Will said. "Then, freshman year, we all got close through it. Now, we're all best friends, and we hit all the time."
Will and partner Olivia also lost their matches Thursday to finish the season with a 20-8 record. Between doubles and singles matches this year, Will is a combined 28-12 and boasts a 52-21 mark in the last two years, while Olivia finished this season with 29 wins.
Meanwhile, for Julian — who finished with 24 wins between doubles and singles matches this season — despite coming up short at the Class 1A Sectionals on Saturday, she is looking forward to the final moments she can cherish with this core of seniors while also watching and learning from Hoene in the process.
Julian, along with Olivia, are only sophomores.