Finke leads New Trier to 3rd at state; GBS nets 4th

GBN doubles teams close out stellar careers

By Danny Hazan
October 21, 2012 11:46 AM

New Trier junior Carol Finke’s Saturday morning didn’t begin as she had planned after losing in the girls state tennis quarterfinals to Hinsdale Central’s Alex Solovyev.

But Finke had a smile plastered across her face when she clinched a third-place state team finish for the Trevians following her next match at Rolling Meadows.

Fueled by her duty to the Trevians, Finke – a No.3-4 seed – responded from her 1-6, 6-2, 6-1 loss by topping No. 1 seed Caroline Ryba from Glenbrook South 8-3 in the consolation quarterfinals to give New Trier its 28th point. (Backdraw matches were played in a best-of-eight game pro set).

Lake Forest (39 points) captured the team title with Hinsdale Central (36) second. Glenbrook South (24) placed fourth behind the Trevians and Glenbrook North (15) finished 14th. 

"It’s so, so exciting," Finke said of clinching third for the Trevians. "We’re all thrilled. It’s definitely hard (losing). But you have to remember it’s all about the team. You can be a little upset, but you have to bounce back and remember what your goals are. We wanted to do well as a team, so I had to just keep playing. Honestly, I was just really grateful and so excited that I could represent my team here. When I had that in mind it allowed me to stay in the moment."

After the first two games against Ryba, Finke began to impose her tempo on the match and avenged her loss to Ryba in the Central Suburban League South Meet No. 1 singles title match in what will certainly not be the juniors’ last match against each other. 

"We’re good friends and we’ve played at least 20 times I’m sure," Finke said. "You always know you’re getting a really great match with Caroline, and I already had played her once this season. I wanted to have no regrets this match. I really wanted to be aggressive and come to net, and obviously it was effective today."

Finke rolled through Mt. Zion’s Megan Balgemann (6-1, 6-0), O’Fallon’s Tori Lindsay (6-0, 6-1), Mt. Carmel’s Tyra Buss (6-2, 6-2) and Warren’s Karyna Bihel (6-1, 6-0) before falling to eventual state singles runner-up Solovyev. 
After beating Ryba, Finke lost a tough match to eventual fifth-place finisher Elizabeth Zordani of Lake Forest, 9-8 (3) in the consolation semifinals to tie for seventh overall. However, New Trier coach Jerry Morse-Karzen was happy to have his singles ace in his state lineup as it wasn’t clear whether she would be early on in the season when she was sidelined by a wrist injury. 

"She’s such a big boost for our team," Morse-Karzen said. "When she came back it obviously made us stronger as a tennis team, but emotionally stronger also and more confident with her at the top of the lineup. She deserves a lot of credit for working hard in rehab and getting back so she can play. Carol is somebody that puts in the work and it pays off."

New Trier also got big contributions from the rest of its state competitors, as No. 17-32 seed Taylor Tamblyn, the No. 9-16-seeded doubles tandem of Kirstie Woodbury and Cammie Frei and No. 17-32-seeded junior duo of Alex Wolkoff and Lily Schroeder all went 4-2 in the state tournament. 

Morse-Karzen was proud of all of the Trevians’ state performances, especially after three players from last year’s state runner-up team’s lineup chose not to compete with New Trier this season. 

"We’re very pleased," Morse-Karzen said. "I think at the beginning of the season people were a little uncertain as what kind of team we were going to have because we had a few players that could have come out but didn’t.

"But to end up in third place, and actually be contending for second or first through the beginning of (Saturday) is pretty darn good. Carol is the only kid that’s played at state before, so we had five new kids and to have them perform as well as they did is all good. It was a good season."

"I think we established a nice team atmosphere. We got a little more into learning the ‘we’ part of it than the ‘me’ part of it. I enjoyed the kids and the kids were great. So we’re already looking forward to next season because we have five people coming back right now."

Tamblyn beat Conant’s Kano Jockish (6-2, 6-2) and Chatham-Glenwood’s Rachel Odin (6-0, 6-4) prior to losing to Lake Forest’s No. 9-16 seed Catherine Orfanos (6-3, 6-4). Tamblyn then defeated Hinsdale Central’s Sophia Haleas 5-7, 6-2, 6-2 and Rock Island’s Nicole Tyulpa by foreit in the back draw before Whitney Young’s Natalie Whalen beat her 8-1 in the sixth round of the consolation bracket.

Schroeder and Wolkoff counted wins against Thornton Fractional South’s Andrianna Johnson and Amirah Ali (6-0, 6-0) and Wheaton Academy’s Betsy Jones and Lexi Welton (6-4, 6-2) before suffering their first defeat of the tourney to  Molly Hennessy and Ali Bush from Glenbard West (6-0, 6-3). They then beat Downers Grove South’s Amy Even and Victoria Andonova (6-3, 7-6(10)), York’s Gabby Riek and Ellen Barry (6-3, 7-5) and lost in the sixth round of the consolation to Dana and Lauren Goggin from Buffalo Grove (9-7). 

Woodbury and Frei took down Centralia’s Kassandra Ingersoll and Abbey Holtkamp (6-1, 6-2), East Richland’s Kelsey Shipman and Alex Kauble (6-3, 6-4) and Fenwick’s Laura Gutierrez and Mia Sullivan (6-1, 6-7(5), 6-1) but then lost to eventual state champ and No. 3-4 seed Maddie Lipp and Christina Zordani of Lake Forest (6-3, 6-1).

They beat Kaneland’s Madi Jurcenko and Angelica Emmanouil (8-3) in the sixth round of the back draw and then lost to Edwardsville’s Casey Bonhan and Sara Janulavich (8-3) to cap their season as the Trevians’ top doubles squad. 

"They’ve been a nice pairing," Morse-Karzen said. "Cammie (is) the freshman and the smaller one, but she’s the powerful one. The taller one and the senior – Kirstie – is the steady one. But they work very well together. They upheld their seeding and were very solid and steady for us."

Glenbrook South

The Titans’ singles players Caroline Ryba and Annemarie Emme, along with doubles teams Martina Dragoytchev and Jessica Chepurda and Mary Friedman and Allie Sonneborn gave GBS something to remember them by with their performance over the three-day tourney. 

"This is the best we’ve ever finished in the state tournament, so we’re thrilled," GBS coach Katie Nicolotti said. "The girls have just done an outstanding job."

Top-seeded singles player Ryba was upset Friday in the fourth round by No. 17-32 seed Tiffany Chen from Naperville North 6-2, 6-7 (3), 6-4, but she wasn’t the only one Chen got as the freshman upset her way to a fourth-place finish overall. 

Ryba notched wins over Lindsey Olse from Belvidere North (6-0, 6-0), Matton’s Molly Nguyen (6-0, 6-0) and Belleville West’s Kayleigh Thurwalker (6-1, 6-0) before her match with Chen. She then beat Metea Valley’s Kelsey Chin (8-3) and Lyons Township’s Kristen Thoms (8-2) in the back draw before Finke ended her tourney 8-3 and she tied for ninth overall.

"Caroline had a great tournament. (Friday) was just a really, really tough match," Nicolotti said. "It was a long day, everyone sat around while it rained. The girl she played, played really well and upset a lot of players, but that’s the way the game goes.

"We were just talking about that her getting the No. 1 seed this year was both a blessing and a curse. I know she felt honored as a player to be recognized with that seed, but I knew she felt some pressure to perform and that may have gotten to her a little bit. If anything, now she knows how it feels and the fact that she’s a junior is fun to watch. She keeps getting better every single year and I think next year we’ll keep seeing her get better."

While Ryba’s tourney was cut short, Nicolotti was happy to see her other singles entry, sophomore No. 17-32 seed Emme display her skill on the way to a tie for seventh with Finke.

Emme qualified for last year’s state tournament, lost in the first round and rain wiped out the entire back draw so she played only that one match. This year, Emme won two matches before falling to state champ Keisha Clousing from Wheaton Warrenville South 6-3, 6-2 in the third round, and then won five more matches to reach the consolation semifinals. 

"I knew she would be able to work her way through back draw because she’s a great player," Nicolotti said. "Watching her slowly move through each of these players is exciting and good for her to have this experience because she didn’t get it last year as a freshman. I’m just immensely proud of her. She has a promising high school career. She’s very aggressive and has a lot of tricks up her sleeve."

Emme beat Parker’s Emily Uzer (6-3, 6-4), Centennial’s Allison Hansen (8-5), Mundelein’s Ari Dechter (8-2), Homewood Flossmoor’s Faith Huckabee (8-5) and Carmel’s Brienne Minor (9-8 (3)), then lost to Marian’s Gaby Rosales 8-3.

Dragoytchev and Chepurda beat Carbondale’s Erika Borgsmiller and Simone Corpora (6-0, 6-3) and Salem’s Kylie Amerman and Sam Eblin (6-1, 6-1), then lost to Barrington’s Zoe Kasiurak and Michelle Linden (6-1, 6-1) in the third round. The Titans’ sophomores rallied to defeat Maggie Huges and Grace Norgaard of Glenbard West (1-6, 6-1, 6-4) before losing to Jurcenko and Emmanouil (8-5). 

Besides relying on Ryba and Emme, Nicolotti will lean on Dragoytchev and Chepurda’s newly-acquired state experience to potentially bolster the top of her doubles lineup.

"For Martina, this was her second year playing doubles, and for Jess it was her first season playing doubles and I think they had a great season together," Nicolotti said. "But I think getting to play together at the state tournament level kind of showed them what they need to work towards in the offseason and where they need to be when they come back next year in order to be even more competitive."

Friedman and Sonneborn beat Moline’s Molly McPherson and Aubrey Simons (7-5, 6-2), then lost to Hinsdale Central’s Katie Lee and Tiffany Chen (6-2, 6-1) and Glenbrook North’s Miriam MIkhelson and Lisa Silshtut (6-1, 6-0).

While the senior tandem was tough on the court and a staple in the Titans’ lineup over the last few years, Nicolotti said their impact went well beyond the court. 

"Allie and Mary have, more so than any other year I’ve been coaching, been able to foster such a positive energy within a team setting," Nicolotti said. "They do such a great job of bringing all the girls together. They all have so much fun together that it makes the season more enjoyable for all of them and makes the competition fun. Allie and Mary had a lot to do with that.

"They were eliminated on Thursday, and the two of them were with us all day (Friday) from 6:30 in the morning to 7:30 at night. Same thing today. It just shows their dedication to the team."

Glenbrook North

Saturday marked the end of the stellar high school careers of Spartans’ Anna Zelechonok, Katrine Zhadovich, Miriam Mikhelson and Lisa Silshtut.

Zelechonok and Zhadovich finished 4-2 and reached the consolation quarterfinals to tie for ninth overall, but left their legacy as the most successful doubles team in school history. They qualified for state all four years together and have the most wins in school history – including conference and sectional championships.

Right behind them in the Spartans’ girls tennis doubles record books are Mikhelson and Silshtut, who are also four-year varsity players and three-time state qualifiers together. 

"The seniors that represented us this year were just some of the nicest, most talented kids we’ve had in our program," GBN coach Peg Holecek said. "They were a joy to work with and all the coaches will miss them a great deal from their leadership ability and the way they competed.

"I’m really proud of them. They all came to compete and gave it everything they had. I think they can all walk away from this state tournament having learned some good lessons and played some of their best tennis."

Zelechonok and Zhadovich beat St. Ignatius’ Kate Ryan and Carla O’Byrne (6-4, 6-4), Stagg’s Vicki Kulbokas and Jill Atkenson (6-1, 6-4), Naperville Central’s Cass Goldner and Cindy Liu (6-2, 6-0) and Hinsdale South’s Andrea Wakim and Emma Adcock (6-1, 6-0) before bowing out to state champions Lipp and Zordani of Lake Forest (5-7, 6-2, 6-3) in the quarterfinals. 

"The final set score is not indicative of the quality of tennis that was being played," Holecek said. "It was a very close third set. There’s no shame in losing to the eventual state champion, and the same thing happened to them last year. It just shows you the caliber of play once you get to the final eight teams.

"I’m really proud of them. They played beautiful tennis and represented their school with class and you can’t really ask for anything more than that."

Mikhelson and Silshtut responded after a 7-6(2), 6-1 first-round loss to Crystal Lake Central’s Jill Wallace and Evelyn Youel by winning three straight matches against Morton’s Julie Martin and Gaya Nersesyan (6-0, 6-1), Friedman and Sonneborn and Fenwick’s Catherine Joss and Molly Wallach (6-2, 6-1). Their tournament ended in the fourth round of the back draw with a 7-5, 6-3 loss to Edwardsville’s Morgan McGinnis and Megan LaRose.

As Holecek watched four seniors make their last appearance at state, she also got to see talented freshman Maddy Kahn take in her first.

Kahn beat Timothy Christian’s McKenna Byrne (6-2, 6-1) and Jacobs’ Ashley Kosy (6-1, 7-5) to open the tourney, but then lost to Warren’s Karyna Bihel (6-4, 6-3) and Bartlett’s Jennifer Gates (6-0, 6-1) in the fourth round of the back draw.

Holecek was impressed with Kahn’s first showing at state.

"I couldn’t ask for more, she did a great job," Holecek said. "She learned a lot and I was talking with her today and she already has some goals for herself for next year. I look for her to get stronger and better. I’m really excited for her next three years at Glenbrook North."

Highland Park

The Giants’ double teams of Jacqueline Baum and Sarah Raab and Rachel Goldberg and Nicole Berkman both finished 4-2.

Baum and Raab picked up wins against Loyola (6-3, 6-2), Marian (6-1, 6-0) and Edwardsville (6-2, 6-7(5), 6-1) before falling to No. 1 seed Maricka Cusick and Caroline Lorenzini from Hinsdale Central (6-0, 6-2)  in the fourth round. Baum and Raab beat Naperville Central (8-2) in the back draw, then lost to Barrington (9-7) in the seventh round of the consolation bracket.

Goldberg and Berkman beat Mt. Vernon (6-0, 6-1), Rolling Meadows (6-1, 6-2), lost to Dana and Lauren Goggin of Buffalo Grove (6-3, 6-3), then bounced back to beat Crystal Lake South (6-4, 6-3) and Edwardsville (6-4, 6-3) before losing to Glenbard West (9-8(5)).


The Warriors were led by doubles team Jenna Borzak and Jorie Fox who beat Rockford Auburn's Meghan Mediratta and Tiffany Ding (6-0, 6-2) and Rosary's Andrea Goyao and Megan Conlin (6-0, 6-2) but then fell to eventual state champions Maddi Lipp and Christina Zordani from Lake Forest (6-2, 6-0) in the third round. 

Borzak and Fox bounced back to beat Anna Mernick and Blair Hollenbeck from Belleville West (6-4, 6-3) then lost to Fenwick's Laura Gutierrez and Mia Sullivan (8-3) in the fifth round of the back draw.

Deerfield's Mindy Borovsky beat Woodlands Academy's Caitlin McCarthy (7-5, 6-1) in the first round, but defaulted in the second round against Chatham-Glenwood's Katherine Farris.  

Ariel Lozovsky lost to Glenbard West's Caroline Maltby 6-4, 6-0 in the first round but came back to beat Univeristy High's Laura Anderson (6-3, 6-4) and Carbondale's Shanaz Daneshdoost (6-1, 6-3) before falling to Effingham's Lauren Hoekstra (6-2, 6-2) in the back draw on Friday. 

Maine South

Hawks freshman Leigh Friedman lost to No. 9-16 seed Catherine Orfanos from Lake Forest (6-3, 6-4) in the first round but came back to win three straight in the back draw.

Friedman knocked off Hillsboro’s Nicki Deghani (6-1, 6-1), Hoffman Estates’ Courtney Lang (6-1, 6-3) and Conant’s Kano Jockish (6-4, 6-2) before losing to Geneva’s Kirby Einck (6-1, 6-1) in her state tourney debut.