Girls tennis: Worth the wait at state for Wauconda pair

  • Libertyville's Margaret Forkner plays New Trier's Julia Ross during the IHSA Class 2A Girls State Tennis Finals Thursday at the Vernon Hills Athletic Complex.

    Libertyville's Margaret Forkner plays New Trier's Julia Ross during the IHSA Class 2A Girls State Tennis Finals Thursday at the Vernon Hills Athletic Complex. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

  • Stevenson's Sarah Wang plays Niles West's Sofia Velasco during the IHSA Class 2A Girls State Tennis Finals Thursday at the Vernon Hills Athletic Complex.

    Stevenson's Sarah Wang plays Niles West's Sofia Velasco during the IHSA Class 2A Girls State Tennis Finals Thursday at the Vernon Hills Athletic Complex. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

  • Katrine Boianov of Lake Zurich plays Parker Zautcke of Crystal Lake Central during the IHSA Class 2A Girls State Tennis Finals Thursday at the Vernon Hills Athletic Complex.

    Katrine Boianov of Lake Zurich plays Parker Zautcke of Crystal Lake Central during the IHSA Class 2A Girls State Tennis Finals Thursday at the Vernon Hills Athletic Complex. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

 
By Bill McLean
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 10/21/2021 10:12 PM

Lake Zurich girls tennis coach Andy McCurley went to a pancake house to grade geometry tests.

Segments, squares, syrup. Yum.

 

Stevenson ace Sarah Wang returned home to do some physics homework.

Others sat in cars.

And waited.

And waited some more.

Damp conditions halted Class 2A girls tennis state tournament action for nearly two hours at the Vernon Hills Athletic Complex (VHAC) on Thursday morning.

Light rain then suspended play again late in the afternoon.

But nothing could dampen Wauconda coach Dana Differding's good mood at the Class 1A site at Palatine, where her seniors Megan Hackman/Sophia Esquivel -- seeded 3-4 -- won a trio of straight-set matches to advance to a state quarterfinal Friday at 9 a.m.) at Hersey.

Awaiting them will be Latin's Alice Mihas/Talia Truska, a 5-8 seed.

Hackman/Esquivel slipped past a Rochester duo in the second round, thanks to a 10-3 super tiebreaker, then topped a Dunlap entrant 6-3, 5-7, 6-1 in the round of 16.

The 5-foot-11 Hackman, blessed with an imposing 6-1 wingspan, finished points at the net emphatically, including two in the second game of the first set vs. Dunlap -- after Dunlap had broken Hackman at the outset.

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"Megan is a beast at the net," marveled Differding, a 1987 Prospect graduate who qualified for state twice in doubles as a Knight. "Megan and Sophia work well as a team, and they're best friends.

"Sophomore year," she added, "I made them play doubles together. But they were hesitant at first."

First-seeded Sarah Wang of Stevenson, in 2A, strolled 6-0, 6-0 in each of her first two matches Thursday, enhancing her record to a splendid 31-1. The Patriot's third-round match against Glenbard West senior Shannele Lopez will resume Friday morning.

Stevenson's top doubles team, 5-8 seed Ainika Hou/Sonia Mehta, absorbed a first-round 7-5, 2-6, 10-5 loss to a Bloomington pair but then dropped only a combined 6 games in 3 back draw victories to live to see another day of state play.

Patriots Kate Herlihy/Thea Surya also went 3-1 in doubles.

Stevenson, York and Glenbrook North are tied for fifth place (11 points apiece) in the 2A team standings. Hinsdale Central sits in first place with 20 points, followed by New Trier (18), Deerfield (15) and Lake Forest (12).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Grayslake Central senior Karishma Bhalla did exactly what her seed projected her to do in the 1A bracket: win thrice. The Ram, seeded 5-8, raced to 6-1, 6-1; 6-1, 6-2; and 6-0, 6-1 triumphs at Hersey and will clash with top-seeded Emma Baker of Chicago (University) in a 9 a.m. quarterfinal Friday, also at Hersey.

GC, with 7 points, is in 10th place after day one in the three-day tourney.

Libertyville junior and 9-16 seed Maggie Forkner, meanwhile, had to regroup after falling 6-1, 6-4 to New Trier's Julia Ross in a 2A first-rounder at VHAC. Ross was a four-limbed wall, with too many steady replies for Forkner, a state quarterfinalist in 2019.

Wildcats coach Dan Kiernan reminded Forkner afterward, "You can still place fifth."

"Ross," Kiernan said later, "played really well. She made only a few unforced errors and double-faulted once. Maggie will be fine; she's easygoing, methodical. She'll move on.

"And she's talented enough to finish fifth."

Forkner skipped to a 6-1, 6-1 victory in her first back-draw match.

Kiernan received 2 singles wins from freshman Lena Dogadalski at Barrington and 2 doubles wins from Alexandra Berns/Hadley Warren at Prospect.

York freshman Lizzie Isyanov, a 5-8 seed, displayed her vast array of strengths, mostly from the baseline, in a third-round match against Lake Zurich freshman and 9-16 seed Katrine Boianov, who'd won her first two state matches at VHAC in straight sets.

Isyanov and Boianov produced some entertaining rallies, but the savvy Isyanov won most of the big points in a 6-0, 6-1 decision.

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