Carmel’s Brienne Minor claims individual state crown

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Brienne Minor’s words of encouragement from older sister Jasmine were simple, yet straightforward.

“She just said to believe in myself,” Brienne said.

That belief was pushed to the limit, but the Carmel senior pulled through with a 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 win over Hinsdale Central sophomore Bella Lorenzini in a two-and-a-half hour singles final at the state tennis meet Saturday in Buffalo Grove.

Joining Jasmine, the 2010 singles champ now at Oregon, the Minors became the first sisters champs since Hersey’s Jennifer and Katherine Nasser in 1990 and 1994.

Was Jasmine waiting in Oregon for the first call?

“She’s probably getting her nails done,” laughed Brienne, who will play at Michigan next year.

A minor mixup ultimately was the major turn in the match.

Tied 3-3 in the third set, Lorenzini thought her lean-in forehand winner was the game point. As she approached the flip card to change the score, the umpire told Lorenzini it was only 40-15.

“I thought it was game,” Lorenzini said. “I was pumped.”

Fueled by the miscommunication, Minor ripped a forehand winner, and after Lorenzini hit two backhands long Minor blasted a crosscourt smash for game point.

“I knew the score,” Minor said. “It was definitely a turning point.”

For Minor, the ninth-ranked player in the country according to tennisrecruiting.net, it was her first three-setter in a high school match since dropping a quarterfinal to eventual state champ Keisha Clousing in 2012.

Minor sat out last year to focus on the recruiting process. She was unbeaten in her return.

“I’ve been waiting to win state since my freshman year,” Minor said.

Lorenzini earlier avenged her 2013 finals loss to Naperville Central’s Tiffany Chen with a 6-3, 6-3 semifinal victory.

“Bella’s effort was superhuman,” Hinsdale Central coach Robin Kramer said. “There are parts of her left on that court.”

Hinsdale Central, with doubles teams Erika Oku and Stephanie Dolehide and Rugile Valiunaite and Sandra Keta took second and third, respectively, won its seventh team title in nine years.

The Red Devils, with 49 points to runner-up Stevenson’s 40, had the title sewed up on Friday.

Stevenson claimed the doubles title for the second consecutive year. Vinaya Rayo and freshman Katherine Harvey, whose only loss this year came to the Patriots’ No. 1 team of Zoe Taylor and Kaylin Dong in sectionals, beat both

Hinsdale teams Saturday.

In the final they topped Oku and Dolehide 7-6 (7-4), 6-4.

Harvey follows in the footsteps of brother Colin, a doubles champ last spring.

“I was there when he won it last year and I didn’t feel the excitement,” Harvey said. “Now I know.”

Defending singles champ Chen came back from the semifinal loss, and a 4-1 deficit to Lyons’ Meg Kowalski in the first set of their third-place match for a 7-5, 6-2 win.

“It was a rollercoaster weekend,” Chen said.

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