Girls tennis: Glenbard West bests top-notch field at Rolling Meadows invite

  • St. Viator's Maia Nowicki plays against Rolling Meadows' Hanna Haber in the second round of the Rolling Meadows girls tennis invitational at Fremd High School in Palatine on Saturday.

    St. Viator's Maia Nowicki plays against Rolling Meadows' Hanna Haber in the second round of the Rolling Meadows girls tennis invitational at Fremd High School in Palatine on Saturday. John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • Benet Academy's Clare Lopatka plays against Ottawa's Ella Marvel in the second round of the Rolling Meadows girls tennis invitational at Fremd High School in Palatine on Saturday, October 2, 2021.

    Benet Academy's Clare Lopatka plays against Ottawa's Ella Marvel in the second round of the Rolling Meadows girls tennis invitational at Fremd High School in Palatine on Saturday, October 2, 2021. John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • Benet Academy's Clare Lopatka plays against Ottawa's Ella Marvel in the second round of the Rolling Meadows girls tennis invitational at Fremd High School in Palatine on Saturday, October 2, 2021.

    Benet Academy's Clare Lopatka plays against Ottawa's Ella Marvel in the second round of the Rolling Meadows girls tennis invitational at Fremd High School in Palatine on Saturday, October 2, 2021. John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • Benet Academy's Clare Lopatka plays against Ottawa's Ella Marvel in the second round of the Rolling Meadows girls tennis invitational at Fremd High School in Palatine on Saturday, October 2, 2021.

    Benet Academy's Clare Lopatka plays against Ottawa's Ella Marvel in the second round of the Rolling Meadows girls tennis invitational at Fremd High School in Palatine on Saturday, October 2, 2021. John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • Benet Academy's Clare Lopatka plays against Ottawa's Ella Marvel in the second round of the Rolling Meadows girls tennis invitational at Fremd High School in Palatine on Saturday, October 2, 2021.

    Benet Academy's Clare Lopatka plays against Ottawa's Ella Marvel in the second round of the Rolling Meadows girls tennis invitational at Fremd High School in Palatine on Saturday, October 2, 2021. John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • Rolling Meadows' Hanna Haber plays against St. Viator's Maia Nowicki in the second round of the Rolling Meadows girls tennis invitational at Fremd High School in Palatine on Saturday, October 2, 2021.

    Rolling Meadows' Hanna Haber plays against St. Viator's Maia Nowicki in the second round of the Rolling Meadows girls tennis invitational at Fremd High School in Palatine on Saturday, October 2, 2021. John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • Rolling Meadows' Hanna Haber plays against St. Viator's Maia Nowicki in the second round of the Rolling Meadows girls tennis invitational at Fremd High School in Palatine on Saturday, October 2, 2021.

    Rolling Meadows' Hanna Haber plays against St. Viator's Maia Nowicki in the second round of the Rolling Meadows girls tennis invitational at Fremd High School in Palatine on Saturday, October 2, 2021. John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • St. Viator's Maia Nowicki plays against Rolling Meadows' Hanna Haber in the second round of the Rolling Meadows girls tennis invitational at Fremd High School in Palatine on Saturday, October 2, 2021.

    St. Viator's Maia Nowicki plays against Rolling Meadows' Hanna Haber in the second round of the Rolling Meadows girls tennis invitational at Fremd High School in Palatine on Saturday, October 2, 2021. John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • Lake Zurich's Katrine Boianov plays against Glenbard West's Audrey Creswell in the second round of the Rolling Meadows girls tennis invitational at Fremd High School in Palatine on Saturday, October 2, 2021.

    Lake Zurich's Katrine Boianov plays against Glenbard West's Audrey Creswell in the second round of the Rolling Meadows girls tennis invitational at Fremd High School in Palatine on Saturday, October 2, 2021. John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • Lake Zurich's Katrine Boianov plays against Glenbard West's Audrey Creswell in the second round of the Rolling Meadows girls tennis invitational at Fremd High School in Palatine on Saturday, October 2, 2021.

    Lake Zurich's Katrine Boianov plays against Glenbard West's Audrey Creswell in the second round of the Rolling Meadows girls tennis invitational at Fremd High School in Palatine on Saturday, October 2, 2021. John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • Glenbard West's Audrey Creswell plays against Lake Zurich's Katrine Boianov in the second round of the Rolling Meadows girls tennis invitational at Fremd High School in Palatine on Saturday, October 2, 2021.

    Glenbard West's Audrey Creswell plays against Lake Zurich's Katrine Boianov in the second round of the Rolling Meadows girls tennis invitational at Fremd High School in Palatine on Saturday, October 2, 2021. John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • Glenbard West's Audrey Creswell plays against Lake Zurich's Katrine Boianov in the second round of the Rolling Meadows girls tennis invitational at Fremd High School in Palatine on Saturday, October 2, 2021.

    Glenbard West's Audrey Creswell plays against Lake Zurich's Katrine Boianov in the second round of the Rolling Meadows girls tennis invitational at Fremd High School in Palatine on Saturday, October 2, 2021. John Starks | Staff Photographer

 
By Bill McLean
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 10/2/2021 7:17 PM

St. Viator senior doubles player Ally Jodoin waited until after Saturday's Rolling Meadows girls tennis invite to open presents on her 18th birthday.

Spectators received gifts on Saturday, too -- without having to open anything more than their eyes. They got to view and admire top-notch singles action at Fremd and state-meet-level sets in doubles at RM's courts.

 

"This could very well be a quarterfinal doubles match at state," Glenbard West coach Kevin Graham said as his formidable pair of senior Elizabeth Fausey and sophomore Mira Kernagis defeated talented Fremd seniors Gracie Ha/Sonal Matta 6-3, 6-3 for the doubles championship in muggy, July-like conditions.

"This has the look of a state match, late in the tournament, no question," Fremd coach Scott Newmark said of the matchup of 1-loss duos.

In the singles final, meanwhile, senior and top-seeded Shannele Lopez of Glenbard West had her hands -- and racket -- full against Lake Zurich's Katrine Boianov, a freshman who has been impersonating an accomplished, fourth-year varsity netter since coach Andrew McCurley welcomed her to prep tennis in mid-August.

Lopez edged the Bears' rookie and second seed 4-6, 7-5, 10-4 (super tiebreaker).

"Shannele," Graham said, "is always attacking and has the impressive ability to turn any shot into an offensive shot."

Graham and Fausey/Kernagis and the rest of Graham's Hilltoppers cracked enough winners to top the 8-team field with 48 points. Runner-up Benet Academy -- behind third-place efforts in singles (freshman Clare Lopatka) and doubles (seniors Felicity Kolb/Kaitlyn Lee) -- tallied 45 points, followed by Fremd (33), Rolling Meadows and St. Viator (30 points apiece), Ottawa (29), Lake Zurich (21) and Schaumburg (2).

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The invite, run impeccably by Mustangs coach Jim Gumz, mirrored a sectional format: Nos. 1 and 2 singles players in one draw; Nos. 1 and 2 doubles teams in the other.

"I like this tournament because it gives 2s chances to play 1s in singles and doubles," Benet coach Michael Hand said. "If you're a 2 and you either play well against a No. 1 or beat a No. 1 here, that's 'ammo' for sectional seeding. Plus this event takes place right before conference meets, when everyone starts ramping up."

Fremd's Ha/Matta stayed up on Saturday, even after falling behind 5-0 in the second set of their final against Fausey/Kernagis. The Vikings sandwiched service holds around a service break to pare the difference to 5-3. The Hilltoppers regrouped in the ninth game, with Fausey using her reflexes to end points and Kernagis -- shod in blinding, neon-pink sneakers -- calmly ripping scorchers down the line and crosscourt.

"We're good at cheering each other up," Kernagis said. "We're positive at all times."

"If my partner double faults," Fausey said, "it wouldn't make sense for me to get mad. I double fault, too."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

You couldn't fault Benet's Hand for not having a rooting interest in the third-place doubles match. It was, after all, an all-Redwings clash. Kolb/Lee downed mates Claire Converse, a senior, and Shane Delaney, a freshman, 6-1, 6-4 for the bronze.

Birthday celebrant Jodoin and St. Viator sophomore Meredith Garcia defeated RM's Megan Buchek/Mohini Maletira in straight sets in the match for fifth place in doubles, after Jodoin suffered an ankle injury in the Lions' previous consolation-round test.

Rolling Meadows senior Hanna Haber finished fourth after battling admirably in a 6-3, 6-3 loss to LZ's Boianov in a semifinal. Haber also bowed 6-3, 6-3 to Benet's Lopatka in the match for third.

Three of Gumz's four entrants won 2 matches apiece, including RM senior Alissa Erokhina, and his fourth -- a makeshift combo of Allison Martin/Vasi Grammatis, filling in for injured Mustangs -- netted a key doubles win.

"We don't tie for fourth place without that win," Gumz noted. "Our No. 1 doubles players (Buchek/Maletira) had a competitive day; their win (6-3, 3-6, 10-8) over Fremd's No. 2 (Ifra Baig/Lily Rybka) was a nice one, since we'll go up against Fremd in a sectional later this month.

"The idea behind this meet," he added, "is to get teams ready for big meets the next two weekends, especially sectionals. Coaches like it for that reason. So do the players."

Ottawa senior Ella Marvel took fifth in singles with a 6-2, 6-2 defeat of St. Viator junior Maia Nowicki.

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