Boys tennis: Spartans edge Stevenson for BG Invite title
For the second consecutive year, Glenbrook North's boys tennis team held off Stevenson to take top honors in the annual Buffalo Grove Invite.
The Spartans, considered to be one of the favorites to win the state title next month, used sparkling performances Saturday from its 1-2 punch at singles, Mark Wu and Nick Marino, to outscore the Patriots 44-40. Lake Zurich (24) grabbed third place.
The two state powers dominated all six flights at the Buffalo Grove and Palatine venues. For the Spartans, last year's third-place state medal winner Wu led a singles sweep.
"This is an exciting year for our team, as well as myself," said Wu, likely a 1-2 seed at the Pitchford 32 next weekend who recently committed to a collegiate future at Washington University in St. Louis. "We have a chance to be a state champion in the team race, and I'm looking forward to making a serious run for the singles title."
Two-time state qualifier Nick Marino topped Sam Komis of Stevenson in straight sets for the No. 2 singles title, while his teammate Tripp Schulte needed three sets to upend the Pats' Gary Brazinchenko at No. 3.
The news was brighter for Stevenson at Buffalo Grove, where the Patriots took two of three flights, including at No. 1 with the dynamic duo of Brian Weisberg/Matt Harvey (8-1). They defeated Glenbrook North's No. 1 tandem (Klapman/Park) 6-3, 7-6 (2), overcoming furious starts by the Spartans in both sets.
"GBN came out on fire and kind of took both of us by surprise, but I have to give Brian his props for keeping things real positive and really helping us out with his serves, and it was just the thing we needed to get us back on track," said Harvey, who will attend Illinois next fall with an eye toward becoming a veterinarian.
"That was quality win for those guys at No. 1, especially in advance of the 32 and getting them a top four seed," said Stevenson coach Tom Stanhope. "And the same can be said for our No. 2 team."
That No. 2 Pats team, Arjun Viswanathan/Ozzie Sheelvanth, improved to 8-1 after winning in straight sets against Glenbrook North.
Stevenson's No. 3 team of Andy Dong/Jeremy Park finished second at No. 3 doubled.
The host Bison saw their No. 1 team of Jeff Clay/Eddie Moder earn a fifth-place medal after defeating Sandburg in straight sets.
"Our first-round win was our best effort of the season thus far," said Clay.
After losing to Weisberg/Harvey in the next round, Clay/Moder bounced back to win twice.
"We've played a few teams from the MSL thus far, and we feel if we continue to improve and play like we have, there's no reason why we can't challenge for a conference championship," said Moder.
Palatine (Patel/Conway) and Lake Zurich (Kim/Ganoza) were third and fourth, respectively, at No. 1 doubles.
"We're still trying to find our way with our lineup, but we've got three-plus weeks to pull it together in time for our conference tournament, so we're pointing toward that weekend right now," said Pirates coach Jim Lange.
LZ senior Roberto Guagnelli beat Marko Konjevic for third place, while the No. 1 man from St. Viator, Kyle Borst, finished fifth overall.
"The progress I've seen in the game of Kyle, as well as the rest of our team, has been terrific, and coming here to play a lot of top 3A teams will go a long way in our preparation for the postseason, where we'll playing in 1A for the first time," said St. Viator coach Amy Ritchie.
The Lions have fared well against future sectional opponents Carmel and North Shore Country Day, and have a date with Vernon Hills on the horizon which will also be a measuring stick as to where the club stands come time for the postseason.
"We swept Carmel and went 4-1 against North Shore Country Day, so getting to see those two teams, plus Vernon Hills up close will be a big help to the boys," Ritchie said.
The Lions' lone losses are to Francis Parker and Hersey, both early on. Ritchie feels the experience gathered at BG and in the next two weeks will go a long way toward meeting the goal of winning an East Suburban Catholic Conference championship.
In singles, North Suburban and sectional champion Kim of Stevenson ran into Wu in the final at No. 1 and fell 6-2, 6-4.
"Zach traded breaks with Mark early on," said Stanhope, "but you've got to do more than that in order to beat a player of that talent, who also won nearly all of the big points -- and that's why he is one of the best in the state this season."