A tennis player's mid-match body language normally conveys how that player is faring.
Slumped shoulders and the intentional fumble of the racket announce, "I'm trailing."
Fist pumps and an erect back declare, "I'm in control."
But when Stevenson senior No. 3 singles player Mitch Newman takes the court, forget about looking for the Patriot to display any kind of telltale sign.
The lefty acts the same while up 6-0, 5-0 as he does while down 6-0, 5-0.
Newman poker-faced his way to a 7-6 (3), 2-6, 6-4 defeat of Lake Forest's Brice Polender at Thursday afternoon's North Suburban Conference Lake Division boys tennis showdown at the Vernon Hills Athletic Complex.
"It can be unsettling for an opponent when Mitch doesn't show any emotion during a match," said Patriots assistant Mark Linnenburger.
Newman's match was the last to end in Stevenson's 4-3 dual loss. LF (4-0 in the Lake division) had clinched the victory about five minutes earlier, when LF's Camron Bagheri/Connor O'Kelly stunned Stevenson sophomore Andrew Komarov and freshman Colin Harvey 0-6, 6-4, 6-2 at No. 1 doubles.
The reigning NSC meet champion Patriots slipped to 8-3 overall (3-1 in the Lake) on the eve of this weekend's highly competitive Pitchford Invite.
"Sometimes a tough loss like this forces a team to refocus and regroup," said Linnenburger. "We'll use this to remind the guys of some things."
Pats junior Jeremy Bush remembered how to hit crisp winners on a sunny, windy and crisp day. Stevenson's No. 1 singles player downed Lake Forest sophomore Scott Christian 6-3, 6-3. The Patriots got their other win from seniors Dylan Goll/Alex Bacalar at No. 4 doubles (6-1, 6-2.
LF sophomore Peter Tarwid, who has been sharing time at No. 1 singles with Christian this spring, defeated Stevenson senior Brian Kim 6-1, 6-3 at No. 2 singles on Thursday. Scouts Will Martin/Ryan Kennedy beat Pats Adam Maryniuk/Dennis Kontorovich 6-2, 6-4 at No. 2 doubles, while LF's No. 3 duo of John Hayes and Brandon Berish overcame a 5-2 deficit in the first set of their 7-5, 6-1 defeat of Alex Cyrus and Pawel Jaworski.
Hayes/Berish improved to 9-0.
"We stayed positive," Berish said of the tandem's mindset after falling so far behind. "We eventually got aggressive and woke up."
The Denison (Ohio) University-bound Hayes, a hoopster in the winter, boasts Ping-Pong quick hands at the net in the spring. Berish's lefty spin serve often leads to quick points.
"Once we got the momentum, we kept using it in the second set," said Hayes.
Stevenson's Newman kept his head level at No. 3 singles, even after his 5-2 third-set lead on Polender dwindled to 5-4.
"The good start I had in the third set helped," said Newman, who lost to Polender earlier this month at the Deerfield quad. "He played well. He's got a big forehand."
At this time next year Newman will be hitting the books at Northwestern. In May he will take AP tests in chemistry, physics, governments and calculus.
Count on him to ace all of them.
He passed his court exam on Thursday -- by making passing shots, among other shots.
"That was a tough match," he said. "You can prepare for AP tests. In tennis you can't always prepare; in tennis it's more in-the-moment."