It was a new season and a new girls tennis state tournament.
Unfortunately for the Stevenson No. 1 doubles team, it was the same result.
Contact information ( * required )
As it did last season, the top Stevenson duo lost in the semifinals on Saturday. Junior Alexxis Kiven -- who was on last year's third place squad -- and sophomore Kaylin Dong lost 3-6, 6-2, 6-3 to eventual runners-up Tracy and Amy Kuhle from St. Teresa. The Stevenson duo dropped the third-place match 6-3, 7-5 to Hinsdale Central's Marika Cusick Caroline Lorenzini.
"It's a little frustrating," Kiven said. "But it was a good match and we fought hard throughout the whole thing. It's a disappointment but we're still pretty proud of it."
The loss came after Kiven and Dong cruised to a 6-2, 6-2 win against St. Ignatius in the quarterfinals. That theme continued for the Stevenson duo into the semifinal match when it won the first set 6-3.
But for the first time in the tournament, Kiven and Dong ran into trouble. The duo, which had yet to surrender three games in a set coming into the match, couldn't answer the St. Teresa attack. A 5-0 run in the second set gave St. Teresa all the momentum it needed.
"There were some moments we could've clinched that would've changed the whole story," Dong said.
Kiven and Dong were still getting used to playing each other, having joined forces late in the season. Dong credited Kiven's experience for leading them to the deepest point she's been to in the tournament.
"This definitely does feel good," Dong said. "As a sophomore, this has definitely been a good experience, especially playing with (Kiven)."
Dong and Kiven will now have an entire off-season and a full regular season to jell before next year's state tournament. Dong said that extra time working together could be what gets the duo over the hump.
"We've only spent half a season together and we're already this good," Dong said. "Who knows what could happen in a year?"
The 10th-place Stevenson squad returns most of it roster next season, including all four state tournament qualifiers. While Stanhope thinks his duo is pleased with a medal and leading the Patriots to a top 10 finish, he knows they aren't satisfied.
"They're going to leave pretty hungry from this," Stanhope said. "I don't want to say they'll leave with a bad taste but they'll be hungry for more."
In singles play, Carmel Catholic's Brienne Minor suffered a back-and-forth 4-6, 7-5, 7-5 loss to Wheaton Warrenville South's eventual state champion, Keisha Clousing. Minor bested her freshman campaign when she fell in the round of 16.
Lake Forest's Maddie Lipp and Christina Zordani took home the doubles title, which fueled a first-place team finish for the Scouts.
Coming just short of Lake Forest's 38 total points was Hinsdale Central with 36 points. The Devils were led by singles runner-up Alex Solovyev and third place doubles finishers Cusick and Lorenzi, who defeated the Stevenson duo.
New Trier finished in third place with 28 points thanks to two doubles teams and two singles all playing deep into the consolation bracket.
Despite bowing out of the championship bracket in the round of 16 on Friday, Barrington and Buffalo Grove's double squads both made some noise on Saturday.
Buffalo Grove seniors Dana and Lauren Goggin won their sixth and seventh round matchups in the consolation bracket before falling to St. Ignatius' Michelle Demeo and Bethany Lynch in the quarterfinals. Barrington's Michelle Linden and Zoe Kasiurak took home three Saturday victories, as well.