O'Connor sisters enjoy triumphant return in CSL South

Maine South twins win No. 1 and 2 singles title; New Trier nets team crown

By Danny Hazan dhazan@CSLinsider.com
October 9, 2010 05:51 PM

Junior sisters Audrey and Haley O’Connor – Maine South’s No.1 and No.2 singles players, respectively - didn’t compete in the Illinois High School Association as sophomores, but need no introduction to postseason play since both qualified for the state meet as freshmen.

The sisters reintroduced themselves to the Central Suburban League all-conference team by capturing first place in their respective flights at Saturday’s CSL South Tournament at Glenbrook South. New Trier captured first place as a team (18.5 points) and clinched the overall conference championship (56.5), a combination of dual-meet and conference tourney results. Maine South finished second at the tournament (13.5) and third overall (41.5), while Glenbrook South finished third at the tournament (13) and second overall (43).

Audrey O’Connor has noticed an improvement over the past two years that has led to her recent success and Saturday’s championship.

"I’ve stayed calm, which is something I’ve had trouble with," Audrey said. "It’s hard when you have really close matches to keep yourself confident and steady. I’ve been playing some really good players, and I’ve just defended well and attacked when it was necessary. All around, I think I’m playing pretty well."

Glenbrook South freshman Caroline Ryba put Audrey O’Connor’s resolve to the test and gave her everything she could handle in the finals. However, O’Connor was able to come out with a 7-6(3), 6-4 win. 

"She was a great competitor," Audrey said. "I’m lucky I could pull the match out. She was on offense most of the time and I was glad I was able to get to most of the balls. She played really well."

Haley O’Connor defeated New Trier’s Aimee Tarun 6-1, 6-4 after overcoming some jitters of being in the No. 2 singles conference championship.

"I have to go into sectionals and be tough and aggressive," Haley said. "This past match I played a little too tentatively. I just got way too nervous in the finals and just backed off and didn’t play aggressively. Hopefully I got all my nerves out for the sectionals."

After a year away from competing with the Hawks while training with a personal coach and playing against other national junior players, Haley O’Connor was ready to represent Maine South again.

"I wanted to play for my school because it’s fun," Haley said. "My goal is go to state and do well at state."

Audrey also has similar goals as postseason play begins.

"I hope to qualify for state," Audrey said. "I did as a freshman, so I think I’ll be able to do it again. I want to go far. I’m not sure exactly how far I can go, so I don’t have many expectations. I just want to play well; that’s all I care about right now."

New Trier senior Mari Georgiadis and Emily Barretta helped lead the champion Trevians to a sweep of the four doubles positions by coasting to the No. 1 championship. After defeating Niles West’s Vicky Georgevich and Lexi Leftakes 6-1, 6-0, they toppled the Titans’ Chandler Murphy and Mary Friedman 6-1, 6-0 in the final.

"It’s really exciting to get to play," Georgadis said. "Last year, I was playing (No.4) doubles so it’s great returning to play No. 1 doubles with Emily Barretta, who’s a great partner. It’s nice to see our whole team playing well, especially moving into the sectional meet. Hopefully we can keep it up."

Barretta finished seventh at state with graduated Taylor Hampshire last year and is used to competing at the highest levels in doubles play. 

"I played with a senior last year, so it’s really exciting to play with another senior captain," Barretta said. "I’m just looking forward to a good state (meet). Hopefully we do better than last year. We placed seventh, which was still good for me, but the goal is to make an extra round and keep improving."

The Trevians have their sight set on getting back to the state meet, where they finished fifth last year, and Barretta thinks they could improve on that this year.

"The teammates are all excited to go play," Barretta said. "Right now, we don’t know if our full lineup is set with singles. But we hope if we can do well in singles and both doubles, we can place better at state as a team."

New Trier coach Allison Rose was encouraged by what she saw from her four champion doubles teams.

"The girls played great," Rose said. "There was a lot of great communication between the doubles teams. These were really good matches preparing for sectionals."

New Trier junior Rebecca Ritchie and freshman Julia Schroeder won the No. 2 doubles championship over GBS’ Emily Walker and Maggie Pionke 6-0, 6-0 after beating Maine South’s Lauren Krisne and Victoria Kuritca 6-3, 6-1 in the semifinals.

"We really tried to come to the net as much as possible," Ritchie said. "We both do best at the net, so we would just hit an approach shot and come in. We were communicating well and so we were able to end the points quickly."

The partners have been playing together for a few weeks, but Saturday’s performance served as a huge boost for the freshman.

"This will give us a lot of confidence," Schroeder said. "We can bring what we did into sectionals and hopefully state, and just get used to coming in, volleying and adjusting our game if we need to."

The No. 3 tandem of Alyssa Ritchie and freshman Gabby Nixon defeated Maine South’s Tara Jakobow and Dosia Kocuba 6-1, 6-2 for first place. Alexa Prosniewski and Kaitlin Mogentale topped GBS’ Clarie Llewellyn and Korri Hershenhouse 7-6 (7-1), 6-0 for the No. 4 championship.

New Trier’s Alana Peters defeated GBS’ Allie Sonneborn 6-1, 6-0 for first place at No. 3 singles. Peters defeated Evanston’s Lanie Berk 6-0, 6-0 in the semifinals.

Third-place finishers were New Trier’s Carol Finke (No.1 singles), GBS’ C.C. Hoogland (No. 2 singles), Maine South’s Monica Spalinski (No. 3 singles), Maine South’s Nicole Kitsuse and Claudia Anoil (No 1. doubles), Maine South’s Lauren Krisne and Victoria Kuritca (No. 2 doubles), GBS’ Caley Hoogland and Diana Diacony (No. 3 doubles) and Evanston’s Sammi Warner and Sierra Brown (No. 4 doubles).

CSL South Tournament
Final Team Standings
(Overall conference points in parentheses--dual meet plus tournament points)

: New Trier 18.5 (56.5), Maine South 13.5 (41.5*), Glenbrook South 13 (43*), Evanston 6 (19), Niles West 5 (16), Waukegan 0 (0).

*- Maine South placed second in tournament and third overall; Glenbrook South placed third in tournament and second overall.

Championship matches
No. 1: Audrey O’Connor (MS) def. Caroline Ryba (GBS) 7-6(3), 6-4
No. 2: Haley O’Connor (MS) def. Aimee Tarun (NT) 6-1, 6-4
No. 3: Alana Peters (NT) def. Allie Sonneborn (GBS) 6-1, 6-0
No. 1: Mari Georgidis-Emily Barretta (NT) def. Chandler Murphy-Mary Friedman (GBS) 6-1, 6-0
No. 2: Rebecca Ritchie-Julia Schroeder (NT) def. Emily Walker-Maggie Pionke (GBS) 6-0, 6-0
No. 3: Alyssa Ritchie-Gabby Nixon (NT) def.  Tara Jakobow-Dosia Kocuba (MS) 6-1, 6-2
No. 4: Kaitlin Mogentale-Alexa Prosniewski (NT) def. Claire Llewellyn-Korry Hershenhouse (GBS) 7-6 (7-1), 6-0

Third-place matches

No. 1: New Trier Carol Finke (NT) def. Grace Wolff (EV) 6-0, 6-0
No. 2: GBS C.C. Hoogland (GBS) def. Kara Mui (NW) 6-1, 6-0
No. 3: Monika Spalinski (MS) def. Lanie Berk (EV) 6-3, 6-2
No. 1: Claudia Anoil-Nicole Kitsuse (MS) def. Lexi Leftakes-Vicki Georgevich (NW) 6-1, 6-0
No. 2: Lauren Krisne-Victoria Kuritca (MS) def. Kate Weine-Paula Trautreller (EV) 6-1, 6-1
No. 3: Caley Hoogland-Diana Diacony (GBS) d. Niles West Ploy Paungsombat-Rita Chia (NW) 6-1, 6-0
No. 4: Sammi Warner-Sierra Brown (EV) def. Haley Gaede-Jackie Hazlett-Morris (MS) 4-6, 7-5, 7-6(10-8)