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updated: 9/7/2013 9:24 PM

Area teams reap some medals at Fremd Invitational

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By Jonathan Jones
Daily Herald Correspondent

A five-minute shower turned into a two-hour rain delay Saturday at the Fremd Tennis Invitational.

That caused a format change because of time constraints. The usual best-of-three sets, first-to-six-games format was replaced in the first two rounds of the eight-team invite that also included a second flight at Harper College. The coaches agreed to initiate the pro-set (one set with the first player to win eight games).

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After the rain subsided, Fenwick took first-place honors for the second straight year, posting 45 points. St. Charles East followed in second with 41 points, while Libertyville took third with 35.

Area teams Fremd, Conant, Buffalo Grove and Hersey all participated.

Although they lost by just 4 points, the St. Charles East No. 1 senior doubles team of Haydyn Jones/Kelsie Roberton and the Saints were delighted with their second-place team finish.

The senior duo of the Saints (3-0) first-place finish in their bracket that included two upsets against one-seed Fenwick in the first round (8-3) and two-seed Libertyville in the final (6-3,6-2).

"It was a pretty big thing taking out the first seed," Jones said.

"We kept our intensity up. We're having a really strong year as a team, and we're off to a great start."

"Through the matches we were staying patient," Roberton said. "We had a lot of consistency and we had to be up at the net a lot to win."

Hersey (1-2) tied for fourth with Jacobs at 30 points apiece.

The Huskies received a stellar performance from freshman No. 3 singles player Anna Karptiani.

Her road to first place included wins over Fremd No. 3 singles player Abby Stelnicki 8-4, her Fenwick opponent 8-3 and Buffalo Grove No. 3 singles player sophomore Anna Sandler.

"When you're playing all day (in the humidity) you just try to get it over with," Karptiani said. "I don't want to lose, and I did my best. When I lived in (the country of) Georgia, I stopped playing for three years. (The transition to high school tennis) hasn't been too tough."

Other Huskies who received medals were the No. 3 doubles team of Michaela Slosar/Carolyn Niersbach in second place and No. 2 singles player Tyler Ann Valerio with a fourth-place finish.

"The girls exceeded my expectations," said Hersey coach Sharon Meinzter. "We've resolved position dilemmas and we are defining where (each doubles team) belongs. We've been working hard at practice and the dividends paid off. We got a taste of what the MSL looks like with this tournament and we've got to be ready for the big matches."

Recording a sixth place was Buffalo Grove with 27 points. The Bison (3-0) sported medals from senior No. 2 singles player Allison Flack, who took third place in her bracket, plus sophomore No. 3 singles player Anna Sandler, who was second, and the junior duo Jessie Jarosz/Anna Harisiadis in fourth place.

"We had an OK day," said Buffalo Grove coach Kevin Schrammel. "I would have liked to see us do a little better against the conference opponents. Anna (Sandler) had a good day getting second. We've got some work to do. We will continue to build during the season."

The Cougars finished tied for seventh with host Fremd at 22 points.

Conant (1-1) lost two state-qualifying players in Aya Okuda (who moved back to Japan) and senior Kano Jockish (graduation) this season. However, senior Natalia Migdal has filled Okuda's shoes very nicely in her short time in the No. 1 singles slot. Migdal completed the invitational with a fourth-place finish against IHSA state tennis competitors -- including an 8-3 first-round victory over Fremd senior Amy Byrne, a 2012 state qualifier.

Another fourth-place medalist was Conant's No. 1 doubles team of Krishna Patel/Lydia Oh.

"It's been hard transitioning from a doubles player to a singles player," Migdal said. "(My opponents) are really good competition and they push me to play better. I know what to expect in the future from the MSL players."

"A lot of top teams were in this tournament," said Conant coach Dave Koleno said. "I was overall happy with the way we performed. The tournament is nice because it has three top teams in the MSL: Fremd, Hersey and Buffalo Grove. That's where we want to get to. The experience from it will help them down the road."

Taking home third-place honors was Fremd's junior No. 2 doubles duo of Caroline Freeman/Alice Zhang. They rang up wins against Conant's No. 2 doubles team of Simrin Dhillon/Monica Tawfic 8-3 and over Fenwick's No. 2 doubles team 6-4, 3-6, 10-5.

"We learned a lot in how important it is to get (with points) early," said Fremd coach Lauren Hall. "We need to close up matches in just two sets. We had a good finish against good teams. It's a test of our mentality with weather conditions too. We're excited about the MSL dual meets coming up."

Ottawa Invite: Allie Kemph and Jackie Kemph of Rolling Meadows defeated Leena Hwang and Alexis Blackmon of Oswego East 6-3, 7-6 (7-0) to win the No. 1 doubles flight. The Mustangs tied for thrid in the eight-team event won by Oswego East (29 points).

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