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updated: 10/19/2013 8:08 PM

Super sectional efforts from Stevenson, Warren

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By Marty Maciaszek
Daily Herald Correspondent

Stevenson and Warren achieved what many girls tennis teams could only dream of in the sectional tournament.

Both teams had all six of their players qualify Saturday for next week's state tournament.

Stevenson won the team title at its own sectional with championships from Zoe Manion at singles and Alexxis Kiven and Kendall Kirsch at doubles. Warren made program history at the Antioch sectional by getting both of its singles players and both of its doubles teams to state.

Stevenson scored 35 points to win its third straight sectional title at the Vernon Hills Athletic Complex. Its top doubles team of Kirsch and Kiven (25-1) ended the unbeaten run of teammates Kaylin Dong and Michelle Tulchinskaya (24-1) by a 6-0, 6-2 score.

"We've got to work on fitness and our second doubles team earned the right to play our No. 1 team by winning the semifinal," Stevenson coach Tom Stanhope said of not opting to default the match. "They both earned the right to win the sectional championship outright. And there are things we need to work on."

Manion (23-3) also got some extra work in beating Grant freshman Gaby Schoenberg (27-3) for the singles title 6-2, 6-7 (7-3), 6-3. Manion beat Schoenberg, who is Grant's first state qualifier since 2009, for third place in the North Suburban Conference tournament last week.

"She took a step back in the second set and lost her focus for a little while, but then she woke up a little bit," Stanhope said of Manion going from down 5-2 to up 6-5 in the second set.

Stevenson sophomore Vinaya Rao took third at singles with a 6-1, 6-0 win over Carmel junior Christina Rao (no relation).

Carmel took second with 21 points as seniors Michelle Kannenberg and Kathleen Felicelli and Christina Rao capped their comebacks from injuries that kept them out of last season's sectional. Kannenberg-Felicelli (28-3) lost to Dong-Tulchinskaya in a three-set semifinal but rebounded to beat Libertyville's Madeline Wagner and Aleksandra Grabowski 6-0, 6-0 for third.

Rao beat Libertyville junior Halle Roach, a state qualifier last year, 3-6, 6-1, 6-3 in a quarterfinal match that had to be completed Saturday morning. Wagner and Grabowski beat Vernon Hills' Rachel Jacoby and Melissa Roshass, who were third in the NSC at No. 1, 6-4, 6-3 in a Friday quarterfinal.

Warren's Karyna Bihel (27-6) and Alex Mella (29-4) had tough semifinal losses to Lake Forest's Christina and Elizabeth Zordani in the Antioch sectional. Christina Zordani won the title match by default and Bihel took the third-place match by default.

Max Mella and Courtney Sunday beat Warren teammates Mikayla Schultz and Lauren Vrabel 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 for third in doubles.

"That was our goal going in, to get everybody through," said Warren coach Vince DeSecki after his team took second as a team to Lake Forest. "Our singles played tough and I thought our doubles played really well."

In the semifinals, Bihel lost 3-6, 6-4, 6-1 to Christina Zordani and Alex Mella lost 6-1, 7-5 to Elizabeth Zordani. Mella and Sunday lost in three sets to Lake Forest's Victoria Falk and Colleen Morris and Schultz and Vrabel lost in straight sets to champions Catherine Orfanos and Margaux Miller.

The three-day state tournament begins Thursday at all 12 Mid-Suburban League schools.

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