Girls tennis: Stevenson carves up the competition at Prospect invite
First-year Stevenson girls tennis coach Jose Morales sells medical devices when he isn't guiding a talent-packed team of Patriots.
Saturday, at the Prospect "Power 8" invite, he must have thought often about the sales job as his top singles player, sophomore Sarah Wang, struck pure shot after pure shot against Glenbrook North freshman Katelyn Wu in the championship match at No. 1.
Wang played sharp, surgical tennis en route to a 6-2, 6-3 victory in a highly competitive battle that could have easily passed for a Class 2A state singles semifinal. Their lengthy points in warm and picturesque conditions had it all, from line-smacking serves to loud crosscourt winners to well-placed, angled shots.
"We practice a lot together at College Park (in Bannockburn)," said Wang (15-0). "We drill, play sets. I usually lose to Katelyn. I knew I'd have to give my best effort and forget about my last shot if it had been a bad one. My serve was on today when I went wide or for the 'T.'
"I did not want to give an inch at any point in the match."
Stevenson won the 7-flight invite by 63,360 inches -- a mile. The Patriots collected 5 other bracket titles and amassed 40 points to runner-up Glenbrook North's 25. Naperville North, behind the Huskies' championship at No. 3 doubles (senior twins Simran Desai/Anaya Desai, finished third (21 points), followed by Prospect (16), St. Charles East (12), Lake Zurich (8.5), Carmel Catholic (4.5) and Mundelein (2.5).
Patriots freshman Abby Ma edged Glenbrook North sophomore Rina Matsunaga 6-3, 0-6, 10-6 (super tiebreaker) for the No. 2 singles title; Stevenson junior Anna Trush lost only a combined 9 games in 3 matches to emerge victorious at No. 3 singles; and Morales' doubles winners were Sonia Mehta/Ainika (No. 1), Sophia Shlyakhta/Kate Herlihy (No. 2) and Sabrina Xue/Sophia Lagen (No. 4).
"All I do is sit and watch my players win," cracked Morales, a native of Ecuador who played tennis at Bethel (Ind.) University. "The girls, all of them, are talented, year-round players."
Prospect's girls received third-place efforts from junior Cassie Voicu (No. 2 singles), Allie Biewenga (No. 3 singles) and seniors Katherine Doyle/Natalie Katsaros, who upset Glenbrook North's second-seeded pair 6-2, 6-3 in the match for bronze.
"Huge win against a very good program," Knights coach Mike McColaugh said. "Best second set that Katherine and Natalie played against a quality team in a long time. I'm happy for them. The win gave them a lot of confidence. It was clearly their best match of the season."
Lake Zurich freshman Katrine Boianov took third at No. 1 singles after falling 6-4, 6-1 to Wu in a semifinal. The setback was only her second of the season.
"I'd hit good shots against Katelyn and then they'd come back better," Boianov said. "In my next match (vs. Prospect freshman Kara Pescaru, for third place). I focused on ball placement, not ball power. My serve, it's improving. But there's room for improvement."
Other notable results Saturday included Stevenson's Ashley Adkisson/Angela Ran (2nd, No. 3 doubles); Naperville North freshmen Brooke Coffman/Gabby Lee (2nd, No. 1 doubles); Carmel's Rachel Pinto/Lelya Reininger (3rd, No. 4 doubles); and Naperville North's Callie Genovese/Tiffany Cheng (3rd, No. 2 doubles).
"I'm coaching fun, confident girls," said Naperville North coach Heather Henricksen, a four-time state qualifier in tennis when she attended Oswego (1989-1993). "They truly love the game of tennis, and they love to compete."