Boys tennis: Stevenson doubles teams advance to Round of 16
All is well in doubles for Stevenson after the first day of the boys tennis state tournament.
Both of the Patriots' teams breezed through the competition on Thursday to reach the round of 16 today at Buffalo Grove, which will begin at 8 a.m. as tournament officials keep a wary eye on the forecast and hope a starting time one hour earlier than scheduled will allow two rounds of the front draw to be completed.
Sam Komis/Benjamin Bush (25-7) got off to a flying start in Mt. Prospect, conceding just one game in their matches to advance for a matchup with 5-8 seed New Trier (Ricky Mayer/Wyatt Meyer) who are 20-4.
Stevenson's coach, Tom Stanhope, like the way his duo rose to the occasion.
"Those two were playing at a whole different level today, maybe the best all season," he said.
Stanhope's other doubles team, Brian Weisberg/Matt Harvey, will meet No. 2 seed Hinsdale Central (Michael Czlonka/Nick Calzolano, 13-1) on Friday morning after sweeping a trio of opponents at Buffalo Grove.
"We weren't very sharp in our first set, but we began to get our returns in during that second set," said Weisberg, a singles qualifier last season. "But we know we can be better than we were today."
"There was no energy in our first two matches," said Harvey, a three-time state qualifier. "We finally found it for the third set, but we'll have to have a lot more when we face Hinsdale in the morning."
At singles for Stevenson, sectional and North Suburban Conference champ Zach Kim (24-8) opened his first day with a pair of victories before running into 5-8 seed Victor Spolidorio of Dunlap.
"It felt good to get my first state match ever out of the way," the freshman said. "I was a little nervous at the start, but once I found my pace, things went a little easier for me."
The Patriots' league rivals had a solid day all around, beginning with the No. 2 doubles teams from Libertyville and Warren, who each enjoyed 3-1 days to remain alive in the backdraw.
Julian Janczak/Hayden Friese (21-10) of Libertyville dropped their opener to Loyola (Patrick Halpin/Andrew Sullivan) before reeling off three straight wins.
Warren's Brandon Reichel/Stefan Radovic followed suit with a 3-1 effort.
Reichel/Radovic, now 30-11, next meet 17-32 seed Jacobs (Kendrick Chong/Kerwin Chong), while next up for the Wildcats is Naperville Central (Martin Matov/Ammaar Saedd).
The Blue Devils' No. 1 team of Scott Seiler/Nick Skradski pounded their first two opponents in Hoffman Estates before sent into the backdraw following a straight-set loss to 9-16 seed Rohan Chinwalla/Namit Sambare of Hinsdale South.
"I would guess in the last two weeks I've talked to the guys just twice during turnovers -- that's the beauty of having two great senior players, who also happen to be two great young men," said Warren assistant coach Michael Elder.
Libertyville's Scott Daluga/Kenny Herrmann (16-12) joined their teammates in the backdraw after a 2-win, 1-loss day, while the Antioch team of Jordan Keller/Brandon Sorensen enjoyed a memorable and highly successful day in their first-ever state tournament.
"It felt great to win our tournament opener, then, unfortunately, we ran into the 9-16 seed (from Glenbrook South)," said Keller. "But we put that one behind us and just went for it afterward."
Keller/Sorensen fired back with a nice win over Geneseo before Reichel/Radovic ended their run.
Antioch's Braden Ward (23-5) had his brilliant four-year career end with his second loss of the day, against Jacob Palley of Oak Park-River Forest at tourney host Hersey.
"It was a tough draw today, and my first match of the tournament was an ugly one," said Ward. "I was playing too loose in that one, but I lost to a solid opponent in that third match, and now my career is over."
The four-time state qualifier, who was a sectional champion last weekend, will attend LaSalle University in the fall, where he will continue playing.
Joe Kizhakkadthu/Matt Pawlowski enjoyed a productive day, as the Grayslake North pair remains in play after a terrific 3-1 day capped by consecutive victories following a straight-set loss to Hinsdale Central in the second round.
Next up for Jill Tomasello's tandem will be Atishay Oberoi/Ashwin Yedavalli of Dunlap on Friday morning at Prospect.
"Obviously we're happy to be here, but the guys have played real solid tennis here thus far, and we hope their success will pave the way for more coming this way down the road," said Tomasello of the first doubles team in North's 10-year history to make it to the tournament.
Wauconda's Brian Hackman had a rough start Thursday, but more than made up for it with his finish.
Hackman quickly put his three-set loss to Jonathan Kutasov of Chicago U-High behind him by sweeping his next three opponents in Rolling Meadows with three-set victories to earn himself another day of competition.
Next up for the Bulldogs sophomore will be 17-2 seed Zach Elliot of Hinsdale Central.
"Even though he lost his first match today, Brian never lost his confidence or composure, even though each of his opponents fought hard, and were great players," said Wauconda coach Ryan Whitfield. "He's thrilled to be playing into the second day, and if there's one thing he learned from today alone it's that his fitness and endurance are major parts of this game. And on a day like today when it's so hot and humid, it's something he knows he will have to work on during the off-season."
In the team race, Stevenson, along with Highland Park and Naperville Central, sit behind leader New Trier. The Trevians have 24 points, while the trio of runners-up stand at 16.