Boys tennis: Deerfield, Barrington among conference tournament winners
Rain showers forced conference tennis tournaments in the area to pause early Saturday morning. But when the clouds cleared, it was clear sailing which produced some terrific play.
Here's a look at what happened at five conference tournaments:
Central Suburban League (CSL) North:
The 1-2 punch at singles of Evan Glebov (20-3) and freshman Blake Gold (18-6) and its top doubles team of Max Rosenfeld and Ben Aizenberg (17-6) was not enough for Highland Park to hold off Deerfield who won the CSL North crown at host Maine West.
The Warriors would edge the Giants 17.5-16, with Vernon Hills earning third place honors with 11.5.
"We received some good play all throughout the brackets with our freshman Aarvish Vora finishing second at No. 2 singles, another second-place finish at 2-dubs (Tony Pomeranets-Daniel Shchebalev) and a pair of thirds from our Nos. 1 and 3 doubles teams today," said Vernon Hills coach Doug Gerber, whose Cougars will be the favorites at its own 2A sectional which begins Friday morning.
Maine West senior George Ciuca (15-5) would claim third overall at No. 1 singles after his straight-set (6-2, 6-2) win over Rohit Dashaputra of Vernon Hills.
New Trier once again rolled to yet another CSL South title at Niles West, with Maine South runner-up to the Trevians.
The Hawks' dynamic doubles duo of Marko Czosnyka-Jack Belconis, who were anointed the top seed at No. 1, dropped a heartbreaking three-set match to eventual champions Will Feeley-Jack Rivkin from New Trier in the semifinals, before going on to take home a third-place medal.
"We came out and played a great first set, but (New Trier) changed to the I-formation in the second set, and it took us awhile to adjust," said Belconis, who along with Czosnyka were state singles qualifiers a year ago.
"So we did not play well in our second set, and in the third, we got it back to a tiebreaker, but when a great passing shot made it 6-5, that was it for us."
The Hawks, who dropped their semifinal to New Trier, 6-1, 2-6, 7-6 (5), came back to beat Glenbrook South (Ter-Saakyants-Denizov) 7-5, 6-2.
East Suburban Catholic Conference:
Benet Academy easily won its seventh consecutive ESCC title, and 18th in program history, when it swept all five flights to outscore runner-up Carmel Catholic, 40-28, and third-place Nazareth Academy, which finished with 21 overall points.
St. Viator, led by third-place medals at No. 1 singles, Michael McManahan, and its No. 2 doubles team Charlie Bullock-Phil Banasik, came in at fourth place with 19 points.
"It's a great way to go out for the seniors on this team with another conference championship, and for me, and Noah Bobfchak, it is a great start to what we both hope will be an even better finish than last year," said Donovan, who will run cross country next fall at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln.
"Noah and I are back as our No. 1 doubles team, and after a slow start to our season this spring, we're playing back with confidence, and we both feel we can improve upon our third-place finish at state," added Donovan.
Bobfchak, along with his partner at No. 2 doubles, sophomore Alex Brown, cruised to its ESCC title with a trio of straight-set victories.
Carmel Catholic was at its best at doubles where it earned 20 of its 28 overall points, led by second-place medals at Nos. 1 (Miles Whalen-Adrian Larrea) and 2 (Mikey Moriarty-Nate Starzac) doubles.
There is a very good chance that Barrington, Fremd and Hersey could be in the mix for a top 5 spot at the 2A state tournament at the end of this month -- and this terrific trio showed why with dominating performances all throughout the three days of play at the MSL Conference tournament.
When all was said and done, it was Barrington, which shared the league title a year ago with Fremd, took home the big trophy when it held off its rivals at tourney host Conant.
The Broncos were either first or second in all (7) flights, including another impressive solo effort by Deven Carse at No. 2 singles to earn 55 overall points, six more than Fremd and Hersey which would share second place honors.
Conant was fourth with 33 points.
"I am very happy and proud of our team today (to) outscore two great opponents, who like us, hope to challenge Hinsdale Central, and New Trier at the state tournament says a lot about the this team," said Broncos coach John Roncone.
Roncone called the Hersey No. 1 team of Mitch Sheldon-Kacper Pasielak (19-0) a team playing at state championship caliber after the Huskies duo beat his men Ethan Paik and Gabe Mills 6-3, 6-2 to avenge last year's loss in their MSL final.
"I think we're stronger, and play with more confidence, and we use the weapon of Mitch's big serve as much as we can," said Pasielak.
"We're also so much better at the net this season, and we both feel after our top seven finish a year ago at state that we can be even better this year," added Sheldon, who along with his teammate needed under an hour to defeat the Broncos pair.
For the second time this week, Andrew Spurck (Fremd, 17-1) faced his hitting partner, and good friend, Pranav Gadiraju of Barrington, this time with the league title on the line.
Spurck overcame some shaky service in the first set to defeat the Broncos star, 6-4, 6-2, to earn his first MSL title of his young career.
"I was tossing the ball too low, and too far in front of me. (It) led to 5-6 double faults in that first set, but I made an adjustment or two, and after that, my serve was so much better," said Spurck, who along with Gadiraju thrilled with several 14-16 ball rallies to settle just one point in the near two-hour contest.
Hersey freshman Sam Yeh (16-4) was champion at No. 3 singles, while the Fremd senior duo of Aditya Maddali-Arnav Sangamnerkar (16-7) would avenge their three-set loss last Tuesday to Shiv Sastry-Sahil Mittil (Barrington) with a three-set victory to claim the title at No. 2 doubles.
The Broncos' No. 3 dubs team Nolan Pearson-Jacob Smith would prevail in a long three-set contest (2-6, 6-2, 7-5) to defeat Luke Bouvier-Luka Cunningham (12-3) to take home first-place honors, while their teammates at No. 4 Aarav Nambiar-Colin Farley beat Hersey (Andrew Stan-Ryan Hegel, 10-3) in straight sets.
"Next weekend will be just as exciting as this one," said Fremd coach Johnny Kent, who will host Hersey, Conant and seven others at sectionals beginning on Friday.
"All three of us have solid depth, and a lot of talent to give the MSL a real good chance to have a great sectional weekend, and one week later at state as well," added Hersey coach Andy Walton.
North Suburban Conference:
Stevenson lifted its 21st NSC conference trophy in program history, and first under new head coach, Izzy Balase, at the Vernon Hills Athletic Complex.
The Patriots outscored runner-up Lake Forest, 38-28. Libertyville, on the strength of doubles champions Connor Stelter-Wils Warren, claimed third place with 19 points.
"It was a great day for Stevenson tennis," said Balase, who celebrated individual titles from Dustin (No. 2) and Caden Zhao (No. 3) singles, as well as doubles championships at Nos. 3 and 4.
"We have a senior heavy roster, so it was fantastic for all of them to go out as conference champions, and I am especially proud of Sammie Cohen, who not only was given the NSC Sportsmanship Award, but also won at No. 3 doubles along with Alex (Yunseong) Jang," said Balase.
The Patriots' No. 4 team of Owen Hayden-Rithvik Mandamula beat Lake Forest 6-1, 6-0 to claim their NSC crown.
Mundelein senior Kevin Edquiban (23-3), who has been the Mustangs' No. 1 man the last four year, came away with third-place honors.
Edquiban will attend Loyola-Chicago in the fall.