Boys tennis: Stevenson frosh Kim takes NSC's No. 1 singles title
While the usual suspects rose to the occasion, there were still a few surprises at the North Suburban Conference boys tennis meet held at Lakes Community High School on a cold and blustery Saturday afternoon.
Take, for instance, Stevenson freshman Zach Kim.
Seeded second, Kim got a little redemption in upsetting top seeded William Zordani of Lake Forest 6-4, 6-4 to claim the conference championship at No. 1 singles.
"It felt really good to beat him. He (Zordani) makes you make a lot of balls on the court," said Kim, who lost 6-1, 6-2 to his fellow freshman rival in dual meet action earlier in the season. "His first serves are really good and I think the big key for me today was that my return was going well (off those serves). I just tried to be patient. We were all fighting through the cold."
Stevenson's second doubles team of senior Ben Bush and sophomore Samuel Komis also picked up conference championship hardware after outlasting the Lake Forest duo of senior Craig Campbell II and sophomore Alex Bancila 6-1, 6-4.
"Our season has been great. We have a lot of camaraderie on the team and we just want to carry the momentum from today into sectionals next week," Kim said.
Lake Forest also won No. 2 singles as sophomore Connor Polender slipped past Stevenson freshman Aswath Viswanathan 6-2, 6-2.
So in what turned out to be the decider, the Scouts put an exclamation point on the team title when the last match on the court -- No. 3 doubles -- saw sophomores Yusef Alsikafi and Daniel Beedle earn a hard-fought 6-0, 7-5 victory over the Stevenson duo of senior Dhruva Kumar and freshman Arjun Sheelvanth.
"I wish we did a little better. But there were some outstanding matches, especially that last doubles match," said Grant coach Curt Sheets, whose Bulldogs finished 11th and served as co-hosts for the event along with Lakes.
Another individual surprise came when Mundelein senior Ernie Beltran earned a 6-2, 6-2 victory over Lake Zurich junior Noah Sung to earn a medal in the fifth-place match at No. 2 singles.
"I am actually surprised. But it goes to show you anything is possible," said Beltran, who played doubles most of this spring. "I think the big turning point was when I was down 4-1 in the opening round on Thursday and came back to win. I just kept my head up. It's a mental game and coming back in that match really helped my confidence."
In the third-place match at No. 1 singles, Wauconda sophomore Brian Hackman earned a third-pace medal after defeating Antioch senior Braden Ward 7-5, 7-6 (4).
At No. 2 singles, Sequoit sophomore Kyle Boudreau claimed third-place after his victory over Wauconda senior Oliver Gallego 6-2, 7-5.
At No. 2 doubles, the Libertyville team of senior Scott Daluga and sophomore Ken Hermann upended Warren seniors Scott Seiler and Nick Skradski in a grueling 7-5, 2-6, 6-3 for the third-place medal.
The Devils team of junior Eric Grosskopf and C. Gudeman defeated Libertyville seniors Bob Neil and Nihar Phadke 7-5, 6-4 for the third-place medal at No. 3 doubles.
Rounding out the top five in the team standings behind champion Lake Forest and runner-up Stevenson were Libertyville in third (17.5 points), Warren fourth (14.5), and Vernon Hills fifth (13.5).