Boys tennis: Stevenson nabs title at Buffalo Grove-Palatine Invite
Payton Adkisson and Daniel Tulchinsky set the tone for Stevenson's boys tennis team Saturday with an impressive effort at No. 1 doubles to lead the Patriots to the team title at the Buffalo Grove-Palatine Invite.
The Patriots' duo dominated the field, including a straight-set (6-2, 6-0) victory over Ben Alzenberg-Max Rosenfeld (Highland Park) to lead a complete sweep at doubles for coach Tom Stanhope's team, which outscored runner-up Glenbrook North 44-32 and third-place Latin (29).
Highland Park (23) was fourth while the host schools, as well as St. Viator, all finished with 15 points to share fifth place.
"Payton and Daniel have been improving with each week, and we're starting to see the proof of that in scores against teams we've seen more than once this season," said Stanhope. "This win today is all good stuff for their confidence heading into the Pitchford next weekend."
"Payton and Daniel have been real steady this season, they have been active at the net, and I've noticed their focus right now is where it's supposed to be at this time of the year," said Patriots assistant Andrew Komarov, who along with Colin Harvey won seven consecutive straight-set matches on their way to a state doubles title in 2014.
The Patriots' top team would defeat a quality club from Latin in the semifinals, closing out the second set after surviving four deuce games before easily defeating Highland Park's No. 1 6-2, 6-0.
"We have terrific chemistry, both on and off the court, and that's important when your playing doubles," said Adkisson, who will play next fall at Lake Forest College.
"We're doing a lot of things well, and we're beating good opponents, but there's always room for improvement," added Tulchinsky.
Stevenson's Ervin Perkowski-Gabe Visotsky won in straight-sets (6-4, 6-4) at No. 2 doubles, as did Kevin Fei-Gautham Kappaganthula at No. 3 (6-1, 6-1).
The Patriots' No. 2 singles, Tom Gong, went past Jason Isele to claim his title with a 6-2, 6-1 victory.
"I was really happy with Tommie's result today, especially after (him) not picking up a racket in over a year. His footwork and timing are both coming around nicely," said Stanhope.
Hayden Williams from Palatine was third overall at No. 2 singles following his 6-3, 6-4 victory against Rowan Ing of Latin, while the Pirates' No. 1 Jackson Spurck, earned fifth place in a crowded field at No. 1 singles.
"Jackson is getting better each time out after a slow start, as are a few of my other guys after we went through a few injuries," said Pirates coach Jim Lange, who recently became a new father with the birth of his daughter, Violet.
Lange was pleased with his No. 3 dubs team of Puneet Virdi-Seth Johnson, whose 7-5, 6-2 victory over St. Viator (Colin Kochera-Robby Walden) gave the duo third place overall.
St. Viator coach Amy Ritchie liked what she saw from the Kochera-Walden team, as well as her No. 2 (Colin Toomey-Andrew Firestone) and their fifth-place finish, as well Colin Farley-Nathan Kochera, who nabbed fifth place at No. 1 doubles.
"There's a lot of potential with our doubles teams, who have been doing very well against top-notch teams. This tournament, with teams like Stevenson, Latin, GBN and Highland Park, is a great test for them and the rest of our lineup and will go a long way towards us having success when the postseason arrives," said Ritchie.
BG coach Mike Naughton, who ran a first-class tournament on the cool but sunny day, was most proud of sophomore Apoorv Sagar Pitta, who earned a well-deserved third-place medal at No. 1 singles.
Sagar Pitta, who was coming off a straight-set victory at No. 1 doubles with partner Lucas Januskis over Wheeling and another straight-set win at No. 1 singles last week against Schaumburg, gave the eventual champ at No. 1 all he could handle, according to Naughton.
"Apoorv went toe-to-toe with (Sujan) Garapti (Latin) in their first set. He looked strong, under control, and was never overwhelmed all throughout the day," said Naughton.
The Bison's Jason Barnett needed a 1-6, 7-5, 10-6 comeback victory to secure his third-place finish at No. 3 singles.