Making adjustments played right into Stevenson’s hands this season.
Friday morning’s inclement weather forced teams to spend hours waiting at Buffalo Grove High School. When it was finally announced that the girls tennis state tournament would continue at various indoor sites, Stevenson received a welcome curveball.
“The good news is that when they brought us indoors, they brought us to our own home court where we played our sectional, and we played here a lot and it’s close to home,” said Stevenson coach Tom Stanhope. “Even though we were waiting indoors, we could wait in our own houses.”
The round of 16 continued at College Park Athletic Club with Stevenson junior Alexxis Kiven and sophomore Kaylin Dong winning 6-2, 6-2 against Glenbard West’s Molly Hennessey and Ali Bush.
The late-season adjustment to pair junior Kiven — who finished third in No. 1 doubles as a sophomore in last year’s state tournament — with sophomore Kaylin Dong continued to pay dividends for the Patriots.
“When we were put together, we really went on a roll,” Dong said.
The duo rolled though its first three rounds of the tournament, losing just one game in the first round. Despite losing four games on Friday, Stevenson still made quick work of Glenbard West before playing potentially three matches tomorrow.
“That’s really helpful today because I really need to rest up because tomorrow we have a long day,” Dong said. “Now that we’re in top eight, none of these matches will be easy.”
But Stevenson does possess an advantage going into the final day of the tournament, which will feature three rounds on championship play: quarterfinals, semis and championships.
Kiven admitted she already did a little research on the Patriots’ quarterfinal opponent, St. Ignatius.
“I know the girls we’re playing against didn’t get to the last day last year, and I have more experience,” Kiven said. “It’s good to be able to carry our team through and be the leader.”
Kiven and Dong meshed to form a duo that stands three wins away from a state title. Whether or not they will stand alone at tournament’s end will depend on their ability to seize one more opportunity.
“We’ve had a lot of adjustments during the year and a lot of adjustments during the state tournament,” Stanhope said. “Whether it’s over the course of an entire season or just one day, you’ve just got to be patient and when the time comes, you’ve got to step through that door and take advantage.”
For Buffalo Grove twin seniors Dana and Lauren Goggin, it was already the most successful state experience in their four years as doubles teammates.
“Yesterday, once we beat a tough team in Highland Park, we felt great,” Lauren Goggin said of their third-round victory. “We weren’t nervous because we were already passed the point we got to last year so that still felt pretty good.”
But that run ended for the Goggin twins on Friday when they lost 6-4, 6-2 to Nazareth’s Alysa Straub and Lexi Petrovic, who were last season’s runner-ups.
“We played better than we expected against these girls because we saw them play last year,” Lauren Goggin said. “It’s tough, but it was fun and we stayed together, which is important for us.”
The Goggin twins hung with the Nazareth duo late into the first set by slowing the match down. But eventually Straub and Petrovic adjusted to the Goggins’ lob shots and pulled out a 6-4 victory.
The Goggins will conclude their four-year varsity career in the consolation bracket, where they’ll take on New Trier’s Lily Schroeder and Alex Wolkoff at Palatine High School.
“Without a doubt, it’s always hard when you’ve had players that have played all four years with you,” said Buffalo Grove coach Kevin Schrammel. “It’ll be tough to see them leave.”
Barrington’s Zoe Kasiurak and Michelle Linden saw their front draw run concluded with a three-set loss to Tess Trinka and Taylor Arends of Oak Park-River Forest.
One player not ready to leave yet is Carmel’s Brienne Minor, who defeated Whitney Young’s Natalie Whalen 6-2, 0-6, 6-3. Minor will take on Wheaton Warrenville South’s Keisha Clousing in the quarterfinals on Saturday.
Mundelein senior Ari Dechter bowed out of the championship draw with a three-set loss to Gabby Rosales of Marian Catholic in the fourth round.
Sitting atop the team standings heading into the final day is Lake Forest in first place, Hinsdale Central in second place and New Trier on third place.
Quarterfinal action will begin at Buffalo Grove on Saturday morning.Copyright © 2013 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.