Girls tennis: York outlasts Libertyville for Buffalo Grove invite title
York and Libertyville competed against each other in four of the seven finals at the Buffalo Grove girls tennis invite Saturday, which was hosted at Buffalo Grove and Wheeling high schools.
After the dust settled, York was able to edge Libertyville for the championship.
York captured first-place honors in three of the four aforementioned finals which enabled the Dukes to post a field-high 46 points. Libertyville followed with 43 points, while Maine South was third with 27.
"We've held our own as of late," said York coach Tres Heimann. "I think (York) is staying hungry and we just keep competing and keep pushing forward. We keep on competing the best we can."
York No. 1 singles player Melissa Cartis and half of the No. 1 doubles team -- Aleksina Jovich -- were absent from the trip to the IHSA state tournament home site. However, Gianna Nikoleit and Cate and Elle Duhig rose to the challenge, earning second and fourth place finishes in their respective flights, thus providing the necessary point spread to top Libertyville.
Other York champions included N.o. 3 singles player Morgan Burnham, the No. 3 doubles tandem of Micki and Sasha Neidigh and the No. 4 duo of Zoe Burkhardt/Gabby Felder.
Heimann is pleased with the growth of his team to this point in the season as it goes home to continue West Suburban Silver play.
"We had to shuffle some things around for today," Heimann said. "Our twos were playing ones today and it gives them great experience. It bodes very well moving forward and it shows progress. There's great players up here. It's a great environment to see different players you don't normally see, because we play most teams from the western suburbs."
Libertyville's Lily VanDixhorn sustained her strong play on Mid-Suburban League soil. After notching the top position in the No. 1 singles bracket in the Fremd Invite last week, she duplicated her performance in this week's edition.
The two-time state qualifier VanDixhorn notched victories over Lake Zurich's Abigail Bens 6-0, 6-0, Hersey's Sydney Hemenway 6-2, 6-0 and recorded gold hardware in a 6-3, 6-2 win over Nikoleit.
Other Libertyville winners included the No. 2 duo of Kiley Nolan/Christina Tuduri and No. 2 singles Maggie Forkner, who like VanDixhorn, nearly mirrored her shutout performance that she posted in the Fremd Invite. Forkner, who blanked all of her opponents 6-0, 6-0 again until she reached the title match, tallied her first-place win over York's Keira Polach 6-2, 6-0 in the final.
"I think this week was more competitive; mainly my finals match (against Nikoleit)," VanDixhorn said. "I think the (weekend tournament) helps me with the more important matches. I just try to play my hardest and in the warmup (as well as the) first couple games, I see what strategy works the best."
Maine South saw its No. . 1 doubles duo of Mina Radosavljevic/Molly Grace defeat the field. Grace/Radosavljevic notched wins over a Hersey pair 6-2, 6-4, Libertyville sisters Alexandra and Lauren Berns 3-6, 6-4, 10-2 and a 6-4, 6-2 final over Cary Grove opponents.
Radosavljevic and Grace typically play in the singles circuit during dual matches. During the weekend tourneys, the Maine South sophomore twosome partner up. In their third weekend as a pair, they took home hardware for the first time.
"It was really about how the other team was playing against us," Grace said. "We were just trying to stay positive. We had confidence (after defeating Libertyville). I think the more we play together the more we figure out what works."
"We kept each other's spirits up." Radosavljevic said. "(In the Libertyville semifinal) match we had to change strategies and (reassess how) we lost the first set. (The weekend invites) have really helped with our volleys."
Hersey finished with a team score of 20 points and a fifth-place showing, while Buffalo Grove recorded 14 team points for seventh place.