Elk Grove freshman Vujanic shines at invite

By Jonathan Jones
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 9/21/2013 8:58 PM

Elk Grove hosted its annual Sara Jackson Tennis Invite Saturday morning. Unlike traditional weekend tournaments, Elk Grove's invitational doesn't play the third and fourth doubles teams. The invite had a second flight at Maine West.

After everything transpired, Jacobs would notch a victory in the tournament posting 21 points. Grayslake Central was second with 17 points and Timothy Christian recorded 15 points for third place.

Area teams Maine West, Wheeling and Elk Grove were all participants in the day's competition. Elk Grove finished in fourth with 14 points, while Wheeling (11 points) and Maine West (7 points) finished fifth and sixth respectively.

Elk Grove freshman No. 1 singles player Jelena Vujanic has had a strong first half of the season. Things didn't change in the Elk Grove Invite, as she took first place in her bracket. Vujanic's road to her medal was recording victories against Addison Trail senior Fiona De Guzman 6-0, 6-0, Timothy Christian sophomore McKenna Byrne 3-6, 6-2, 10-7and Jacobs sophomore Ashley Kosy 3-6, 6-4, 10-2.

"It's hard playing older players, and getting into that system," Vujanic said. "I'm a USTA player already though so it's not that (difficult to move to the high school level). (The Grenadiers) are really accepting and really supportive of me.

"The two tiebreakers were all about mentality. I have to be really confident and stay mentally strong all the time."

The Grens had another champion at the No. 2 singles slot with senior Sammie Marquardt. Marquardt defeated Wheeling senior Gosia Markiewicz in a tough three set 4-6, 6-2, 12-10 match, recorded a second victory over Grayslake Central sophomore Raquel Ruiz 6-3, 6-2 and then a 6-0, 6-4 performance over Jacobs senior Rachael Buttolph earned her the first-place medal.

"I played relatively well," Marquardt said. "I had good net points against (Buttolph). It's a boost of confidence going into our conference matches and beating Jacobs definitely helped because they're in our sectional. Playing three matches helps with my stamina and definitely helps my confidence."

Maine West's No. 1 senior doubles team of Ania Holubecki/Rachel Anderson brought home second place honors after faltering to their Timothy Christian adversary in a stunning 6-1, 4-6, 10-6 loss. The duo defeated Addison Trail's doubles team 6-0, 6-0 and Grayslake Central, 6-3, 6-3 before they fell in the finals.

Wheeling coach Jim Christopher was happy at the finish for the Wildcats because every team won at least one match. Wheeling flaunted a strong finish from freshman No. 3 singles player Ksenia Plyaskina, who brought home a third-place medal. Plyaskina notched a first-round win against Waukegan junior Elizabeth Ludowise 6-0, 6-0 and then beat Maine West sophomore Megan Franke 6-2, 6-3.

"We had a lot of our kids winning two out of three matches," Christopher said. "We really did a nice job. We're trying to get the kids to play up and have more abilities. We don't care about strategy; we just have to be more consistent."

A couple miles north Prospect hosted its own invite. Stevenson would run the table posting a stellar 42 points garnering champions in each bracket. Carmel came in second with 21, while Glenbrook North followed at third with 17 points.

Area teams Buffalo Grove and Prospect competed in the tournament. The two MSL East teams would eventually remain in a tie for seventh place at the invite.

Top performer for Buffalo Grove was junior No. 2 doubles Anna Klipstein/Maddy Delano finishing in third place. Klipstein usually plays at the No. 1 singles spot, and Delano usually partners up with senior Jennalee Moran, who was absent due to ACT Testing. The Bison junior No. 3 doubles team of Jessie Jarosz/Anna Harisiadis had a fourth-place finish as well.

Klipstein/Delano would post two victories over Glenbrook North's No. 2 doubles team 6-4, 6-7, 6-2 and a win over Naperville North for the third place slot 6-0, 6-2. The Bison junior No. 3 doubles team of Jessie Jarosz/Anna Harisiadis had a fourth-place finish as well.

Prospect saw solid efforts from juniors No. 2 and No. 3 singles players Alexandra Gorodiski and freshman Paige Bennett respectively taking fourth place finishes.

"Paige Bennett, Alexandra Gorodiski, and (sophomore) Natalie Lysik competed well in singles," said Prospect coach Michael Mccolaugh. "We don't mind hosting tournaments with such tough teams in them because we feel it prepares us for big matches the rest of the way. We saw lots of things this weekend that we can do better, and that will be our focus in the coming weeks."

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