WINNETKA — New Trier was in danger of getting knocked off.
Glenbrook South began the second day of the Central Suburban South girls tennis tournament in position to win the conference title.
All three of the Titans’ singles players advanced to the finals on Saturday, and all four of their doubles teams did the same. New Trier only had five entrants vying for first place on Saturday, but that discrepancy didn’t matter in the end.
New Trier won all of the championship matches its singles players and doubles teams competed in. While Glenbrook South senior Annemarie Emme was victorious at No. 1 singles and Glenbrook South seniors Martina Dragoytchev and Jessica Chepurda won the No. 1 doubles title, the Trevians’ depth carried them to a 49-45 victory over the Titans.
“We just have a lot of girls who have a lot of talent on this team,” New Trier sophomore Caroline Christopher said.
It was Christopher whose 6-2, 6-3 victory at No. 3 singles over Titans sophomore Isabella Kang clinched the CSL South title.
New Trier’s other four conference champions were junior Cammy Frei at No. 2 singles; junior Tess Lubin and sophomore Nicole Katz at No. 2 doubles; sophomores Michelle Buyer and Katie Lofdahl at No. 3 doubles; and freshman Amia Ross and junior Amanda Schoewe at No. 4 doubles.
Although Glenbrook South came up short of upsetting New Trier, the CSL South tournament was full of positives for the Titans. One of the biggest takeaways was how close they came to winning.
“We only lost to them by four points,” sophomore Sophie Hensley said. “Next year, we’ll come back even harder.”
Annemarie Emme beat Maine South junior Leigh Friedman 6-4, 7-6 to win her first No. 1 singles championship in the CSL South. Martina Dragoytchev and Jessica Chepurda beat Maine South sophomores Marti Wind and Kamila Czosnyka, who knocked them off earlier in the season. They won the No. 1 doubles match 6-2, 7-5 to secure their first conference title together.
Lower in the lineup, Glenbrook South’s No. 2 doubles team of Hensley and sophomore Nikol Blinov played well in a 6-4, 7-6 loss against New Trier’s Tess Lubin and Nicole Katz. They were aggressive and very competitive, which Hensley said is a good sign heading into this weekend’s Glenbrook North Sectional.
Hawks senior Randi Wind has been on the verge of qualifying for the state tournament each of the last two seasons, but she came up one win short in both instances.
Randi Wind lost to Glenbrook South’s Caroline Ryba, who now plays at Minnesota, in 2012. Randi Wind was the No. 5 seed in a deep Glenbrook North Sectional last year, but she lost to Glenbrook North’s Maddy Kahn.
“It was hard because I was a junior, so my goal was to be able to go to state more than once,” Randi Wind said. “Just knowing that I wasn’t able to accomplish that goal was difficult, but I still had one more year, so hopefully I’ll get there.”
For Randi Wind — who took third at No. 2 singles at the CSL South meet — a key to qualifying for the state meet figures to be staying patient and not beating herself. She added that getting her first serve in to start points also will be important.
Randi Wind said she wasn’t happy with how she played against Glenbrook South senior Breck Murphy in the semifinals of the CSL South tournament. She lost 7-5, 7-6.
“She’s really consistent, but she’s not a powerful hitter, so I think it kind of got to my head and I tried to hit as hard as I could,” Randi Wind said. “It didn’t end up working.”
Niles West’s Eliza Kirov qualified for the state tournament a year ago as a freshman, but it figures to be much harder for her to get back to state this year.
The New Trier Sectional will likely consist of many of the state’s best singles players. New Trier’s Taylor Tamblyn and Cammy Frei are both slated to be there. Kirov lost 6-0, 6-1 against Tamblyn to finish fourth at No. 1 singles in the CSL South tournament, and Frei took third at state in doubles last season.
Niles North freshman Michelle Bacalla, Northside freshman Nicole Roc and Loyola freshman Maggie Hines also figure to play singles at the sectional. Bacalla and Roc are both listed as five-star recruits by tennisrecruiting.net, and they’re both ranked in the top 60 in their class nationally as of Sunday. Hines is listed as a four-star recruit on the same website.
Only four singles players can advance from each sectional.
“It’s going to be extremely difficult to make it to state, but I have to hope for the best, play my hardest and try my best against those players,” Kirov said. “I have to start believing that I can play with these players and I have the ability to have a good game with them.”
Evanston’s Sam Mulica and Rachel Clemens played together at No. 4 doubles a year ago, but they made the jump to No. 1 doubles this season.
“It’s kind of been hard — the adjustment has been hard — but I think we’ve done really well this season and have upped our game,” Mulica said.
Clemens added: “It’s been tough. There are so many good competitors.”
That was true at the CSL South meet. Mulica and Clemens beat Niles West’s No. 1 doubles team 6-3, 6-0, but lost to Maine South’s Marti Wind and Kamila Czosnyka 6-1, 6-0 in the semifinals on Friday. Mulica and Clemens then lost 6-0, 6-1 to New Trier’s Catherine MacKinnon, a junior, and Laura Swenson, a senior, to finish fourth Saturday.
Mulica and Clemens weren’t angry after MacKinnon and Swenson beat them on Saturday. They both said they were able to accept the Trevians were better and remain positive.
“I think we have a lot of fun on the court, which is [important] because if we’re losing, we just make the best of it,” Mulica said. “And if we’re winning, it’s so much fun, too.”