Wu, Glenbrook North handle Stevenson at Buffalo Grove

 
By Mike Garofola
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 4/23/2016 7:02 PM

Glenbrook North's boys tennis team had a little too much firepower for Stevenson on Saturday as the Spartans outlasted the field in Buffalo Grove to capture the team crown at the Bison Invite.

Led by one of the best in the state at singles, Mark Wu, the Spartans took all three flights at singles, and two of the three at doubles title matches played at sunny Palatine to outscore the Patriots 46-38.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

With an impressive performance at doubles, Lake Zurich earned third-place honors with 24 overall points -- 6 more than Palatine (18), which edged Mid-Suburban rival and tourney host Buffalo Grove for fourth place.

Bartlett (15), St. Viator (9) and Sandburg (8) rounded out the eight-team field.

Wu, likely a top-four seed at next week's prestigious Pitchford 32, needed just two sets to defeat Patriots freshman Zach Kim 6-3, 6-2. Glenbrook North's Van Fairbanks (No. 2) and Ethan Park (No. 3) helped GBN to a clean sweep at singles.

"This is always a good warm-up prior to the 32, plus it gives us an idea of how we might put our team together for next weekend, and maybe sectionals as well," said Glenbrook North coach Jeff Jordan, who guided the Spartans to a sectional title a year ago, with Wu going 5-2 at the state tournament, finally falling in the consolation quarterfinals to Jacob Edelchik of Highland Park.

The last match of the tournament fell to the Patriots' Aswath Viswanathan, who dropped a long three-setter to Fairbanks 6-2, 4-6, 7-6 (4) at Buffalo Grove.

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The Bartlett duo of Jordan Li and Justin Howes finished a respectable third overall at Nos. 2 and 3 singles, while doubles mates Allen Johanson and Alex Salatino grabbed a fifth-place medal at No. 2.

"We were missing a couple of guys today, so we had to move a few of our players around, but we had a real nice day today, with some very good results here and there," said Hawks coach Colleen Brandner.

There was plenty of suspense at Palatine when the final at No. 1 doubles went to three long sets. Glenbrook North's Nick Marino and Austin Klapman survived by claiming a 5-7, 6-0, 7-6(4) victory over the Patriots' top team of Sam Komis and Ben Bush.

Stevenson's duo took control of that fateful third set by breaking Marino to go up 4-3, then quickly made it 5-3 with Komis holding serve.

A wonderfully played ten-ball rally was key in the Spartans' ability to hold serve with Klapman, and when Glenbrook North broke Bush to draw back even at 5-5, the table was set for an exciting finish.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Marino and Komis both held serve to send this match into a tie-breaker. But at 4-4, Marino's winner down the line and a double fault were too much for the Pats to overcome.

"That was a well played, exciting high school tennis match, and a few points either way was the difference," said Stevenson coach Tom Stanhope.

Stevenson's No. 2 team, Ben Weisberg and Matt Harvey, were nearly flawless as they cruised to a straight-set victory over the Spartans (Crawford-Puszkarski) 6-2, 6-4 in their final.

"It's been easy for me to play with a new doubles partner this spring," said Harvey, who adanced to the fourth round of the championship bracket at state last season with teammate Adam Maryniuk. "Ben and I have known each other for 8-9 years, so the communication, which is so important at doubles, along with all the other little things, is already there for us."

"It's a blast playing doubles with Matt this year," said Weisberg. "We both feel there's a great chemistry between us, and we're both looking forward the Pitchford next weekend."

Lake Zurich coach Aaron Rogers was beaming after watching all three of his doubles teams take home third-place medals.

"We've played four duals this week, with two of them against the best in the NSC in Lake Forest and Stevenson, so this is a terrific way to end a very busy and grueling week of tennis for our guys," said Rogers.

Roberto Guagnelli, who was in the Bears' lineup as their No. 1 against Stevenson last Wednesday, teamed with Joaquin Ganoza at No. 1 dubs and defeated Palatine's David Chon/Connor Joseph 6-2, 6-2.

Chris Yun and Ryan Kim beat another tandem from Palatine, Jack Wiebe/Patrick Weber, 6-2, 6-4 at No. 2 for their third-place medal.

"This is a great group of guys who will put the team before themselves, so coming to practice every day around a bunch of players like this is a joy," added Rogers.

Pirates coach Jim Lange moved his top player, Chon, over to doubles alongside Joseph in an effort to help hasten recovery from injury.

"David stepped on a ball, and we feared the worse," explained Lange. "But after getting his knee checked out, we found it was just a sprain, which is great news for all of us."

St. Viator coach Amy Ritche has been happy with the progress of her club during this first year in charge, despite a spring season which has seen the Lions participate in just one weekend tournament, and that's this invite.

"We've missed a few dates here and there, including a tournament at Rolling Meadows early on which we were really looking forward to because it would give us a good look at a lot of different teams from around the area," Ritche said. "But we're making progress each time out, got ourselves a win in our ESCC opener with Notre Dame/ And the young players, which we have so many of, are getting better each time out, with an eye on next year and the year after when things really turn around to be something special for us."

The highest finish for the host Bison came at No. 3 singles, where Chris Louras was third.

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