New Trier girls tennis coach Jerry Morse-Karzen and his Trevians had time to kill on the third day of the state tournament. A rain delay, on the morning of Oct. 24, forced them to scramble for other things to do.
They visited Woodfield Mall, a few lengthy lobs from a tourney site in Rolling Meadows.
Morse-Karzen ate fried rice, a court boss hitting the food court. Senior doubles player Catherine MacKinnon did some homework at the mall. Her partner, freshman Michelle Capone, shopped.
“I bought sweaters,” Capone said.
Capone/MacKinnon and the rest of NT’s state team — senior singles player Cammy Frei and the doubles team of senior Tess Lubin and junior Michelle Buyer — then hit the courts and warmed the cockles of Morse-Karzen’s heart. The Trevians tallied an impressive 27 points to finish third behind Stevenson (30) and Hinsdale Central (50).
HC and Stevenson had qualified the maximum four state entries. NT sent three.
“Outstanding,” Morse-Karzen said of his “short-handed” contingent. “I was very pleased. To take third, with our number of qualifiers … that’s quite an achievement. They all played well.”
Capone/MacKinnon, a 5-8 seed, finished sixth after bowing 6-2, 6-7 (2), 7-5 to reigning state champions Katherine Harvey/Vinaya Rao of Stevenson in a quarterfinal on Oct. 23. They went 2-1 from there, rallying from a 6-2 deficit to post a 9-7 victory over an Edwardsville pair in the their first back-draw match. (The weather delay reduced some consolation matches to pro sets on the final day.)
“It’s nice when your partner is 5-foot-10, with a big wingspan, and she plays well at the net,” MacKinnon, 5-foot-2 and a three-time state qualifier in doubles, said of Capone, a fearless, aggressive poacher.
Frei won six of eight matches and reached the consolation semifinals. She quickly dismissed Hinsdale Central’s Sophia Haleas 6-1, 6-0 in her first back-draw match and then topped Sycamore High School’s Angelina Ye and Barrington’s Michelle Linden.
“Cammy had some very good wins,” Morse-Karzen said of his second-year captain. “She found a nice rhythm, made fewer mistakes than her opponents did. What a great way to end her career. Her wins in the back draw … we needed those, with Lyons (fourth place, 25 points, two behind NT’s total) right there with us, going for third place.”
Lubin/Buyer, who beat doubles state champs Sandra Keta/Stephanie Dolehide of Hinsdale Central at the LF Quad on Oct. 3, made it to the fourth round of the main draw and netted a pair valuable doubles victories in the back draw. Lubin/Buyer finished tied for ninth at state.
“Maybe,” Morse-Karzen surmised, “going to the mall loosened the team up.”
NT’s third-place state finish was its third in four years and fifth top-three (trophy worthy) effort in six years.
Three Giants entries combined for nine wins at the state tournament. Three of the school’s qualifiers — singles player Caitlin Goldberg and the doubles team of Monique Brual/Lily Tiemeyer — were eighth-graders at this time last year.
Goldberg won a match in the main draw and two more in the back draw. Brual/Tiemeyer went 3-2, with two of their victories coming in the championship draw. HP’s other doubles entrant, seniors Jordan Abt/Phoebe Sacks, also won three of five matches.
Highland Park finished 12th (14 points) in the team standings.
Sophomore Maggie Hines teamed up with junior and three-time state qualifier Caroline Witkowski to reach the quarterfinal round of doubles at the state tournament. Hines/Witkowski, a 5-8 seed, lost 6-4, 6-1 to top-seeded Colette O’Regan/Catherine O’Regan of Glenbrook North in a quarterfinal on Oct. 23. The pair of Ramblers then split two matches in the back draw, their last coming in a consolation-semifinal loss to 3-4 seed Stefana Vasic/Lahari Yelamanchili of Lyons Township. Witkowski advanced to state in doubles in each of her first two seasons. Her partner in 2013 and in ’14: older sister Abby Witkowski (LA, ’15).
Lake Forest High School
The doubles team of senior Brynn Carlson and sophomore Julianna Roman, seeded 17-32, went 4-2 at the state tournament. The Scouts lost to 5-8 seed and eventual state champions Sandra Keta/Stephanie Dolehide of Hinsdale Central in the third round and defeated pairs from Prairie Ridge and Glenbrook South in the back draw. Carlson, with classmate Zoe Park, reached the Round of 16 in doubles at last year’s state meet.