Just a freshman, Libertyville's Stefano Tsorotiotis has already made a name for himself on the tennis courts.
In his first first appearance in the North Suburban Conference tournament, Tsorotiotis (21-2) won the No. 2 singles title by defeating Brice Polender of Lake Forest 6-1, 6-3 at the Vernon Hills Athletic Complex in Vernon Hills on Saturday.
Tsorotiotis' teammate Ben VanDixhorn lost in a grueling 3-hour, 3-set match to Lake Forest's Peter Tarwid 3-6, 7-5, 6-4 in the No. 1 singles final.
The Scouts also won all three doubles matches over Stevenson to win the team title, breaking a two-year Stevenson reign.
Lake Forest won the meet with 38 points, the Patriots were second with 28 and Libertyville took third at 26.
For Tsorotiotis, the high school experience has been nothing but good so far.
"I've been playing well all season," Tsorotiotis said. "First year, as a freshman, there's less pressure. But people have expectations. It's just fun for the first year. I'm always being looked at as an underdog, and people don't want to lose to an underdog or a freshman. I think I can pull off some big matches at sectionals and state."
Tsorotiotis started playing tennis about five years ago, and his ability is taking him to successively higher levels.
"I was a good soccer player, and I was on a team that was top 50 in the country when I was younger," he said. "Once I started playing tennis, and I picked it up, my dad (Dino) was like, 'What?'
"It was my passion, so obviously I would get better at it. Now I still want to improve more. I do like team sports but I like to rely on myself. If I lose it's because of me. If I win, it's because of me, too."
VanDixhorn had the upper hand over Tarwid early and won the first set. And the Libertyville senior had a 5-3 lead in the second set before Tarwid rallied to win 7-5.
"I was looking at the next point, and to keep playing," VanDixhorn said. "I started off real well (in the second set). Then Peter started playing a lot better. I might have gotten tired at the end of the second set. Third set, I played well and had one sloppy game. It's a lot mental, with having the will to win. Peter willed himself to win it."
Tarwid recovered just in time. Her survived match point.
"I got into it, and the crowd was with me," Tarwid said. "I was just waiting for my one opportunity, to start to get some momentum. That happened when he was serving for match point. I just started going off of that, which made the difference -- and it went sky-high from there."
Stevenson reached the finals in all three doubles, but couldn't get past Lake Forest in any of them.
"Lake Forest is a quality team and they played very well," Stevenson coach Tom Stanhope said. "It was the best I've seen Lake Forest play up and down the lineup in years. They played great and we didn't play bad.
"Obviously, the conference championship is a big deal to us, and it's a big deal to them as well. You don't want to lose, but on any given day, a team can play higher level tennis and can get beat."
The Patriots' No. 1 doubles of Colin Harvey and Andrew Komarov was beaten by the Scouts' Scott Christian and Christian O'Kelly 6-4, 6-4. The No. 2 Lake Forest duo of Greg Frauenheim and Jordan O'Kelly defeated the Patriots' Matt Harvey and Adam Maryniuk 6-0, 6-4. At No. 3, the Scouts' Dan Kasbeer and Parker Marsh got past the Patriots' Josh Cheng and Lukasz Jaworski 6-3, 6-2.
Ben Bush of Stevenson won third place over Antioch's Braden Ward 6-2, 6-3 at No. 1 singles. Brian Weisberg of Stevenson won in straight sets 6-0, 6-0 over Josh Ashley of Warren for third place at No. 2 singles.
In doubles, third-place finishes included:
• At No. 1, Libertyville's duo of Adam Daluga and Julian Janczak beat Warren's John Westerberg and Steve Gudeman 6-4, 6-1.
• At No. 2, Warren's Neil Shah and Scott Seiler beat Libertyville's Hao Chen and Mike Gasick 6-4, 7-6 (7-2).
• At No. 3, Lake Zurich's Joaquin Ganoza and Kevin Kim defeated Warren's Tyler Cash and Cameron Haevers 7-5, 6-3.