Boys tennis coaches at state meets get to sit and coach courtside for the big matches, beginning with the quarterfinals.
Assistant coach Jeff Zanchelli performed the duty for Stevenson at Friday's singles quarterfinal between Patriots junior Jeremy Bush and Hinsdale Central senior Sam Bloom at Hersey.
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Bush, seeded 5-8, thumped second-seeded Bloom 6-3, 6-1 in toasty Arlington Heights. The expression Bush wore while warming up for the match was identical to the one he sported during match point: placid.
"I heard him breathing on (court) changeovers," said Zanchelli. "Even that was calm. Jeremy was so composed from the beginning of the match until the end, and he played with so much belief in himself."
Mark Linnenberger, another Patriots assistant, also marveled at Bush's burning desire to remain cool.
"Not once did Jeremy show a negative emotion in that match," Linnenberger said. "Not after missing a shot he should've made or after Sam hit a winner on a big point. Jeremy was in control and it showed -- for the entire match.
"That win," he added, "has to be one of the biggest wins in program history."
One of the biggest wins by a Patriots singles player before Friday was notched by Blake Bazarnik (Stevenson HS, '10), who edged Glenbrook South's Michael Moore 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (4) for the state singles championship three years ago.
Bazarnik watched Bush bury Bloom on Friday.
"Nothing distracted Jeremy," said Bazarnik, who plans to transfer from Vanderbilt to Illinois and play tennis for the Illini in the 2013 and '14 seasons.
Bush, oddly, had never played Bloom before Friday, even though they often battled in the same sanctioned tournaments for years. The Patriot worked Bloom's forehand and often made the Red Devil scamper east and west along the baseline. Bush (25-5) also pounced on short balls and punched pure volleys for winners. A frustrated Bloom muttered occasionally in between points.
"I didn't play tentatively and I stayed tough mentally," said Bush, who defeated Lake Forest sophomore Scott Christian 2-6, 6-2, 6-2 in the fourth round Friday morning. "When Sam gave me an opportunity to hit an approach shot and get to the net, I took it."
Bush, who finished seventh-eighth at state in singles last spring, will face 3-4 seed Julian Childers of Marian Catholic today at 9 a.m. in a semifinal at Hersey. Childers also placed seventh-eighth at state a year ago.
Stevenson still has a shot at a team trophy. The Patriots and Oak Park-River Forest's Huskies were tied for fourth place with 25 points apiece after Friday's action. Hinsdale Central was in first with 40 points, followed by New Trier (34) and Lake Forest (28).
Stevenson's top doubles team of sophomore Andrew Komarov and freshman Colin Harvey reached the quarterfinals of the back draw Friday after falling 6-3, 6-2 to second-seeded Zacko Brint/Danny Wynbrandt of Highland Park in the fourth round at Buffalo Grove.
Komarov/Harvey will return to BG today for an 8 a.m. match against Alton's Patrick Cogan/Patrick Spain.
"Their net play is strong, and they show great companionship on the court," Brint said of Komarov/Harvey.
Warren junior Kristiyan Trukov displayed remarkable resolve on Friday, winning four straight-set matches in the back draw after barely being able to walk late in a three-set loss to LF's Christian in a third-round match Thursday. A cramp had vised his right calf in the fourth game of the third set and then stuck around for seven more games.
"What a gutsy effort," said Blue Devils coach Greg Cohen. "To go home (Thursday night), take care of himself and be ready to do what he did (Friday), against some tough kids … so gutsy."
Trukov, a 9-16 seed, beat in succession Payton's Nick Goralka 6-2, 6-0, Sandburg's Eric Pontow 7-5, 6-1, Downers Grove South's Joey Leto 6-4, 6-2 and St. Charles East's Jasper Koenen 7-5, 6-4 at Wheeling.
"I drank a lot of fluids (Thursday night), ate watermelon and got a lot of sleep," Trukov said after his last match Friday. "I guess it all helped because I feel pretty good now. My legs -- they're fine. I did, though, have a little trouble taking my socks off."
He gets to take on Bloom next, in a consolation quarterfinal at 8 a.m. today at BG.
Vernon Hills junior Ismail Kadyrov split a pair of matches in the back draw at Rolling Meadows and finished with a school-record 26 wins this spring. The first state qualifier in program history became a two-time state qualifier at last weekend's Stevenson sectional. On Friday he beat Plainfield South's Austin Russell 6-4, 6-4 and lost 3-6, 6-4, 6-2 to Lyons Township's Jake Elliott.
"His match with Jake could have gone either way," said Cougars coach Doug Gerber, noting Elliott won three of five no-ad points in the third set.
Libertyville juniors Jack Springgate/Eric Klein went 1-1 in doubles Friday after going 2-1 on Thursday. The Wildcats downed Marmion Academy's Chris Patterman/Jackson Rettig 6-2, 7-5 before bowing 6-2, 6-4 to Marian Catholic's Mitch Zavesky/Kyle Scheffers in the back draw at Palatine. Libertyville freshman Ben VanDixhorn lost 6-1, 6-3 to Schaumburg's Vincent Lin the fourth round of the consolation bracket at Wheeling. Lin captured the No. 1 singles title at the Mid-Suburban League meet earlier this month.
Grayslake North senior Nate Campanile's shortened season ended with a 6-2, 6-2 back-draw loss to Homewood-Flossmoor's Brad Holt at Rolling Meadows. The Knight, a three-time state qualifier, played for only two weekends this spring because of a shoulder injury. He went 6-3, including 3-2 at state.