Girls tennis: Stevenson's start to season nothing short of "incredible"

  • The Stevenson girls tennis team is off to a 10-0 start to the season. The Patriots also won the Fremd Invitational recently.

    The Stevenson girls tennis team is off to a 10-0 start to the season. The Patriots also won the Fremd Invitational recently. COURTESY OF JOSE MORALES

  • Warren's Elizabeth Payson, left, and Kaija Johnson recently won the No. 2 doubles title at the Buffalo Grove Invite.

    Warren's Elizabeth Payson, left, and Kaija Johnson recently won the No. 2 doubles title at the Buffalo Grove Invite. COURTESY OF VINCE DESECKI

By Mike Miazga
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 9/15/2021 6:56 PM

A 10-0 record certainly qualifies as "an incredible start to the season," as Stevenson girls tennis coach Jose Morales put it.

In addition to that perfect 10 start, Morales' Patriots group also recently won the Fremd invitational. Sarah Wang was 10-0 at No. 1 singles and played one match at No. 2 doubles, while Abby Ma was off to a 9-0 start at No. 2 singles (she also had a singles match at No. 2 doubles).


"Sarah Wang is a standout singles player, who before our match against Lake Forest, had only dropped a single game," Morales pointed out.

The Patriots' No. 1 doubles team of Ainika Hou and Sonia Mehta were 8-2 through their first 10 matches. "Ainika and Sonia have had many battles at No. 1 doubles," Morales said. "They fight like no other and battle until the last point every match."

Warren update:

Warren improved its dual meet record to 8-0 with sweeps at every position of Lakes and Zion-Benton.

At the recent Buffalo Grove invitational, Kaija Johnson and Elizabeth Payson won the No. 2 doubles title, while singles players Anastasia Radovic and Peyton Mueller turned in strong performances there as well. Coach Vince DeSecki also cited recent strong play from the No. 1 doubles team of Shannon Mahoney and Jaya Ganapathi.

Antioch update:

Senior Natalie Labicki might be 11-3 at No. 1 singles, but Sequoits coach Jamie D'Andrea said her extreme value to the team stretches beyond the courts.

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"Natalie cheers her teammates on, offers rides and advice to anyone in the program who needs it," she said. "She took it upon herself to stock up a 'snack bag.' Though each of these might be tiny gestures on their own, combined they are making a world of difference as students navigate remembering how to balance school, sports and personal lives after last year's COVID year. She has easily slid into this leadership role and our program is exponentially better as a result."

Labicki won the Grayslake Central Ram invite recently and was second at Cary-Grove. Antioch was off to a 2-0 NLCC start with wins against Grant and Wauconda. Two singles players and three doubles teams medaled in Grayslake.

Carmel update:

Interim Corsairs coach Gina Borkowski likes how the No. 1 doubles team of senior Colleen Ryan and junior Mary Titterton has played so far. "They are both aggressive at the baseline and like to attack the net when given the right circumstances," she said. "They are competitive players and have had some really tough matches that didn't go in our favor against Warren and Loyola. Nonetheless, a tough fight."

Junior Emily Fix has moved from doubles to No. 2 singles. "It was an adjustment, but she is rising to the occasion each week," Borkowski noted. "She is an accomplished soccer player and a natural, overall incredibly talented athlete."


Senior veteran Alex Monroe continues to excel at No. 1 singles. "Alex can battle with the best," Borkowski said. "She is a smart player."

Grayslake North update:

Bella Moran was off to an 11-0 start at No. 2 singles, while Meg George was 8-3 at No. 1 singles and Elyse Gawerecki also was 8-3 at No. 3 singles.

"Meg George has had some very tough matches and competitors this year," interim head coach Ashley Kopecky said. "Her tenacity and calm demeanor are the guiding factors in her play. She has smooth form and an excellent work ethic with a drive to compete in every match. She has been a dominant figure in our lineup."

George was second at No. 1 singles in North's crosstown tournament last weekend.

Lakes update:

Lakes recorded recent wins against Waukegan (7-0) and Johnsburg (4-3) and dropped a close 4-3 NLCC bout to Grant that came down to 2 points in a third-set tiebreaker. Juniors Katie Sarver and Nayomi Lotko are 5-2 at No. 4 doubles, while the Lakes No. 3 doubles team of junior Sophia Stolarick and senior Danica Cruz is 4-2 in its last six. "The three matches prior they lost in tiebreakers," coach Bryan Plinske pointed out. "Their success comes from communication and playing off each other's strengths. Their communication is fantastic. It's teamwork at its best."

Grayslake Lake Central update:

The Rams won their own Grayslake Central/North tournament recently. Senior Karishma Bhalla, a returning state qualifier, is off to an 8-0 start this season, while returning state qualifiers Grace Caldwell and Aviva Krill were 7-1 in their first eight matches. "Hopefully, all will repeat as state qualifiers," coach Chuck Lawson said.

Round Lake update:

The Panthers recently recorded a 4-3 NLCC win against Wauconda, while the No. 3 doubles team of Annette Trujillo and Aerith Huerta-Torres took third at the Grayslake Central invite recently.

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