Boys tennis: Stevenson steps up, claims NSC title
A long-standing rivalry took place when Stevenson and Lake Forest met up on the tennis court this past weekend. The competition increases to another level with players swinging for spots for the upcoming sectional and state tournaments.
When all was said and done Saturday, Stevenson won the North Suburban Conference championship, denying host Lake Forest a repeat. Libertyville and Warren tied for third place.
"We're a deeper team this year," Stevenson coach Tom Stanhope said. "I knew coming into the season we would be better at the top. I knew also that we would be deeper at No. 3 and No. 4 doubles. Throughout the course of the year, we've been able to move players around that haven't been in the starting lineup."
Stevenson won all three singles finals and advanced all four of its doubles team to the finals. Zachery Kim defeated Will Zordini of Lake Forest 6-3, 6-3 for the No. 1 singles title.
"It was definitely exciting to win it," Kim said. "For all seven of us making it to the finals was better than winning the conference. I think we treat everyone with respect whoever we play because everyone will try their hardest. We do our best on the court and pump each other when we're down. We did a good job of that today."
Stevenson's Sam Komis got by Lake Forest's Oleksyi Vyshyvanyuk 6-3, 6-1 in the No. 2 singles final.
"I thought I was playing pretty well for the entire tournament," Komis said. "Oleksyi was a tough opponent and it was good to face him. We already have faced Lake Forest twice this season. It's a good rivalry. When I play Lake Forest, I try to step up my game for the team."
Stevenson's Brian Weisberg won at No. 3, as he beat Riccardo Felletti of Lake Forest 6-2, 6-1.
In doubles, Lake Forest won both the Nos. 1 and 2 championships. Jack Armstrong and Connor Polender defeated Stevenson's duo of Aswath Viswanathan and Arjun Sheelvanth 6-2, 6-1. The Scouts' Yusef Alsikafi and Daniel Beedle beat the Patriots' Andy Dong and Matt Harvey 6-1, 6-1 at second doubles.
Stevenson won the other two doubles finals. At No. 3, Jeremy Park and Michael Maryniuk outlasted Lake Forest's Sam Warren and Jack Pasquella 6-4, 1-6, 6-4. At No. 4, Gary Braznichenko and Nick Ryding downed the Scouts' Daniel McEvoy and Erik Luedeking 6-4, 6-4.
Libertyville's Hayden Friese took third place at No. 1 singles with a 6-3, 6-1 victory over Warren's Cecil Mella.
"It's a nice win for me since I lost to (Mella) earlier in the season," Friese said. "It's a nice finish in this tournament. Some of the guys like Kim and Zordani are the top guys in the state. It's always a good experience, but it's a tough match."
Warren had third-place finishes from Jacob Anderson (6-3, 6-4 over Libertyville's Scott Johnson) at No. 2 singles and Nihad Mokkath (6-0, 6-2 over Lake Zurich's Noah Sung) at No. 3.
Libertyville netted third-place finishes at Nos. 1, 2 and 3 doubles. At No. 1, Kenny Hermann and Nathan Valley won by injury default over Warren's Stefan Radovic and Caleb Guderman. At No. 2, Jack Higgens and John Scott beat Warren's Eric Grosskopf and Sebastian Castanos 7-5, 6-1. At No. 3, Emmett Lee and Radu Manea bounced Lake Zurich's Phillip Neff and Justin Shah 7-5, 6-1.
Warren won fourth doubles with Clark Anderson and Zach Schiferl, who beat Libertyville's Louis Lang and Andrew Fejklowicz 7-5, 6-3.