HIGHLAND PARK — When unexpected rain washed the Highland Park Sectional girls tennis tournament from one outdoor site to three indoor venues and back outside again, the most important result was certain for a few of the area entrants still playing.
Some players knew they were headed to the state tournament Thursday through Saturday in Buffalo Grove, while others had to finish quarterfinals that were pushed to Nov. 18 because of darkness on Friday.
Carmel’s Brienne Minor and Libertyville’s Halle Roach knew they had qualified. So did a pair of Highland Park doubles teams — Lizzie Raab and Casey Frommer along with the tandem of Rachel Retsky and Jessica Rosenberg — and the Lake Forest duo of Brynn Carlson and Zoe Park.
Lake Forest’s Colleen Morris and the Libertyville doubles team of Callie Klein and Danielle Blaser had to win their quarterfinal matches Saturday before being assured of a state berth.
Players used to having the boisterous cheers of teammates, family and fans had to forgo the support because they could hear nothing at the indoor courts where the remaining quarterfinal matches and a pair of semifinals were played.
“They can’t hear us but at least they can see us,” Frommer said.
Carmel’s 22 team points nosed out Lake Forest and Highland Park (21 each) as the Corsairs won the team title. Libertyville (18 points) was fourth, Mundelein (6) tied for sixth, Deerfield (4) was eighth and Lake Forest’s Woodlands Academy (2) was ninth.
Minor seeks title
Minor, who reached the state quarterfinals as a sophomore but elected not to play high school tennis a year ago, has her sight set on the state singles championship.
“I want to win it,” Minor said after breezing to the sectional crown by winning her four matches while dropping only one game. “This is my senior year and I want to go out with it.”
Highland Park coach Steve Rudman likes her chances.
“I believe she should be the No. 1 seed,” Rudman said.
Carmel coach Chris Kannenberg was more reserved.
“She is one of favorites for the state title,” Kannenberg said. “She has a great variety of shots. She can hit the ball very hard, clean, accurate and light. She can hit it hard or soft, deep or short.”
Minor did not hear her teammates cheering for her during her indoor semifinal win, but there was plenty of noise as she won the tourney.
“It was good to hear my teammates cheering my win,” Minor said.
Giants duo wins doubles crown
Raab and Frommer spent more time sitting around than playing Saturday and had to return for their third set against Carlson and Park on Monday before taking the doubles crown 2-6, 6-3, 6-2. They were the only entrants with an outdoor crowd for both their semifinal and championship matches.
”It was a big help because [the crowd] gave us a boost,” Frommer said.
It gave us a big lift,” Raab added. “Now we have to get ready for state.”
Retsky and Rosenberg took the third-place match that also carried into Monday.
Lake Forest qualifies two
With one less day to prepare, Carlson and Park felt the added set Monday would help them get ready for the state meet.
“Highland Park is real tough,” Carlson said. “It’s good to have that kind of competition to prepare for state.”
Morris finished third in singles.
Pumped for state
Though Roach, Klein and Blaser ended the tournament with fourth-place finishes, the effect of the weather on the sectional did not dim their enthusiasm for a trip to the state tournament. They had one indoor match and another outside.
Roach said she appreciated the support she got in the third-place match.
“It’s awesome,” Roach said. “It was great to hear [everyone] yelling for me when I hit the ball.”
Squeegee to the rescue
A number of members of the Highland Park team who did not compete in the sectional made it possible for the tournament to continue until sunset Saturday. While the indoor matches were going on, they dried off the courts at Danny Cunniff Park.
“If I can’t cheer my teammates, this is how I can help out,” Giants player Summer Lowy said.
“We couldn’t have [gotten this far] today if they hadn’t,” Rudman added on Saturday.