Doubles upset highlights New Trier's 7-0 win over Deerfield

Trevians' Woodbury-Frei top 2011 state quarterfinalists Borzak-Fox

By Dennis Mahoney
September 4, 2012 09:44 PM

Jerry Morse-Karzen paired freshman Cammie Frei and senior Kirstie Woodbury together for the first time in doubles Tuesday just so he could take a look at some other tennis combinations.

In the process, the New Trier coach may have found his No. 1 doubles team.

Frei and Woodbury teamed up for a 6-3, 7-5 upset victory over Deerfield's Jenna Borzak and Jorie Fox and triggered a Trevians' sweep of the top three singles and four doubles matches in a Central Suburban League crossover showdown at the A.C. Nielsen Tennis Courts in Winnetka.

Using lobs effectively and playing like veterans, the New Trier duo knocked off a Deerfield team that reached the state quarterfinals.

New Trier also counted doubles victories from Lily Schroeder and Alyssa Ritchie, 6-4, 6-3 over Jessie Arenson and Katie Frankel; Audrey Mang and Alex Wolkoff, 6-1, 6-2 over Madeline LaManilla and Laura Holzman; and Kate McCue and Brooke Bondurant, 7-5, 6-2 against Natalie Brown and Kaitlyn Grace.

The hosts completed the sweep in singles as Taylor Tamblyn outlasted Mindy Borovsky 6-3, 6-4; Laura Swenson edged Ariel Lozovsky 7-6 (5), 6-2; and Abby McCulloch topped Emily Kolpas 6-0, 6-4.

Not even Morse-Karzen – back in charge of the girls program after a three-year hiatus – realized the significance of that No. 1 doubles win until after the match.

"That's a good victory for Cammie and Kirstie," Morse-Karzen said. "We have some girls who are stepping up and really playing nice tennis. We've had a very nice start to the season (8-1 overall), and there are a lot of good players here who were in the 7-12 range (positions in singles or doubles) last year who are stepping up and playing good, solid tennis.

"Cammie's a nice player and yes, I've been pleasantly surprised by her play. She can drive her forehand, she can drive her backhand, she moves well and she competes well. She's been a big addition for us, and she's very poised for a freshman. I think the lob shot is a very under-used and underrated shot in tennis, but Kirstie uses it very well."

Frei and Woodbury, along with the unbeaten Tamblyn at No. 1 singles, are thriving at the top of the New Trier lineup even though none of them could have guessed coming out of last season that they'd get this far, this fast. But four other players – including three state qualifiers from last year – decided not to play high school tennis this year and that opened the door for opportunities for others.

"I was hoping to improve my position coming into the season," said Woodbury, who was slotted mostly at No. 3 doubles as a junior. "We're rebuilding with what we have, and I still think we're a very strong team. We've always had a lot of depth. Obviously we wish those other girls had come back, but now we have to move on and keep playing hard. It's an opportunity to prove what talent you have. And when you work hard in the offseason to improve your position, it's just so rewarding when you do it.

"This win today proves we are still a very high quality, very tough team. Cammie and I work well together, but we both can work well with others, too. It's up to whatever Jerry thinks is best as far as the lineup is concerned."

"We found out early in this match today that the longer the points, the better our percentage for winning," Frei added. "We threw up those lobs once in a while just to throw them off. We just played our game.

"There are a lot of good players here at New Trier and at first I thought I'd be happy with a goal to just make the varsity. Once I did, I found out you still can't relax. You have to keep playing hard."

Tamblyn, a sophomore, showed the progress she's made in the head-to-head matchup with Borovsky, who is also new to that No. 1 position after the Warriors lost singles standout Alexis Casati, fifth at state last year. Casati also opted not to play during her senior season.

"Last year when we played Deerfield, I was at No. 2 and I beat her in three long sets, so it was nice to win again," Tamblyn said. "I was happy with the way I played today. It's really not that much different playing at No. 1, although you do have to play against better players consistently. I like it.

"When I saw the players who came out, and then I played Cammie and beat her, I thought I could be No. 1. I've tried to be more aggressive and mix up my shots more this year. Last year I was wild out there and just hit the ball as hard as I could. Now I try to be more consistent and let the other player make the mistakes."

Tamblyn may only be able to hold onto that No. 1 spot until Carol Finke is able to play back to the level that earned her a trip to the state finals in 2011. But Finke, now a junior, has been sidelined by a wrist injury and Tuesday marked her first day back on the court. She played a doubles match left-handed, with her right (dominant) arm in a cast.

"We have two different lineups depending on whether or not we can get Carol back," Morse-Karzen said. "We'd really love to have her back. She's tenacious and wants to be out there so badly, and not many kids could go out and play left-handed like she did today. She's the wild-card for us this year if she can come back at full strength. But she's not supposed to start hitting (righty) again until she sees the doctor on the 19th, and we don't want to jeopardize her future by rushing her back."

Like Morse-Karzen, Deerfield coach Rich Koukol envisioned his team making a serious run at an state team crown until Casati's defection caused a domino effect in the lineup.

Borovsky, also a state qualifier last year, turned in a streaky performance Tuesday but has the talent for a deep postseason run, according to her coach.

"I think the girls all know that we can still have a very successful season," said Koukol. "I think a loss like this will help us, now that our girls have seen one of the good teams in the state. They need to use it as a motivator to get better, and now I think they'll practice harder and want it even more.

"They know without Alexis there's an opportunity to step up and play in a position they're not in normally. This is the first time Mindy (Borovsky) has come into the season healthy, and she's competed well so far. She's a lot closer (to performing like a No. 1) than she thinks she is. She knows there's more pressure on her playing No. 1, but she wants to play collegiate tennis and she'll see better competition there. So this is a chance for her to better herself.

"We didn't play our best tennis today, and we still hung tough against New Trier. That was the first loss for Jenna and Jorie, but they've only played a couple of matches together because Jenna has had a bad back. She's starting to feel better, but she's still not 100 percent yet."