Central Suburban League boys tennis: Glenbrook North claims a windy win over Deerfield
Glenbrook North boys tennis coach Jeff Jordan predicted some "amusing" tennis in a friendly match last week against Deerfield.
One man's amusement is another man's wind advisory.
Gusts blew service tosses sideways and pushed players onto their heels, but the teams got it done on the Northbrook courts.
The host Spartans defeated Deerfield 5-2 on April 14.
"It's really a mental thing, and it's just so hard on both sides," Jordan said as he watched the last of several marathon matches, freshman Max Manoshin in No. 3 singles topping Warriors sophomore Jake Perlman, 6-7(5), 6-1, 10-7.
"So the fact that we were able to hang in there and gut out a few matches -- then you've got to credit Deerfield because they also gutted out a few matches," Jordan said. "I think we both have something to look to and to point to some of their teammates and say, hey, what was the difference, and try to build on that."
Weather conditions normally aren't reported much in these stories because they affect both teams. When conditions affect the equipment as well, it's an issue.
"It was probably the most wind I've ever played in," said Deerfield junior Alex Polovin, who with senior teammate Eric Dvorkin dropped a three-set match at No. 1 doubles to Glenbrook North junior Ari Ayzenberg and freshman Troy Kaneshiro, 5-7, 6-3, 10-2.
"It was definitely an adjustment. I think we started to get used to it, but serving definitely was a process. Returning ... pretty much everything was just much harder, and I had to do some things I wouldn't normally do or else there was no way we would have gotten anywhere in the match," Polovin said.
Several times he stepped back to the baseline to get a last look before delivering a high rainbow return, just to be safe.
"Even if you know where the wind's going, you never know exactly where the ball's going to go. You've got to always stay on your feet, you've got to hit lighter and farther over than you normally would to compensate for the wind, make sure your balls go in," Polovin said.
"And then, overall, you just have to keep it going. If you stop once, the wind's going to make you lose," he said.
Ayzenberg and Kaneshiro had a hand in that, of course, making their own adjustments.
"It was testing our skills," Ayzenberg said. "That's just part of the game, so you have to learn from that -- and I did, 6-3 in the second set and 10-2 in the last set."
Glenbrook North, 2-0 in the young season, won each of the three singles matches. At No. 2 singles, junior Milo Holleb beat Deerfield junior Harrison Unterberger in straight sets. At No. 1, Konrad Kwiatkowski beat fellow sophomore Spencer Kastin, 6-1, 6-2.
Moved up to No. 1 singles -- "I'm very honored," he said -- Kwiatkowski displayed a low, hard forehand to counter Kastin's powerful, two-handed backhand.
Several times on service Kwiatkowski went to an underhand delivery, even on first serve to make sure he put the ball in play. A couple other times, particularly on the south half of the court where there were no tall fir trees to buffer the wind, the lanky sophomore paused his service as gusts rippled his clothing like a flag.
"At the start I think it was difficult to overcome and adjust, but once the match kind of went on and on, and I got a sense of how the wind affected the ball, I got a lot more comfortable," he said.
"It was just jumping everywhere. It was a side wind, so the ball was always curving to the left and right. You have to be really quick with your feet."
Senior Tyler Nelson and junior Noah Harrison completed the Spartans' scoring at No. 3 doubles, nipping Deerfield senior Justin Frank and sophomore Zach Katai in a drawn-out match, 7-5, 4-6, 10-7.
The Warriors earned their two match victories with senior lineups at No. 2 doubles over Glenbrook North juniors Timmy Feng and Jack Furman, and at No. 4 doubles over Spartans senior Zach Lofman and junior Dixon Chung.
"I thought our fight at No. 2 doubles (1-6, 6-2, 10-6) was really good. I thought both Ethan Lesser and Ari Koyfman, after losing the first set, came back, showed really good effort out there, and figured out a way to win," said Warriors coach Josh Leighton, whose team record evened at 2-2.
"I thought at No. 4 doubles, Danny Regenbaum and Spencer Farber (4-6, 6-2, 10-4) wound up losing the first set, but got a little momentum, played really well in the second, and ultimately won the 10-point super-breaker.
"We played OK at the other spots, but just not well enough to win today," Leighton said.