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Deerfield’s Noah Rosenblat navigates state grind

DEERFIELD — The boys tennis state tournament is one of the more physically challenging postseason events of the high school season.

Deerfield’s Noah Rosenblat experienced just how rigorous the tournament can be this past weekend.

Playing at Rolling Meadows May 29, Rosenblat, a 9-16 seed, got through three matches without losing a set. In Friday’s fourth round at Hersey, he lost 6-2, 6-2 to Libertyville 3-4 seed Ben VanDixhorn. Sent to the back draw at Wheeling, Rosenblat faced Glenbrook North’s Will Sauser.

“Sauser had just played a long three-setter [against Carmel’s Kevin Hunt] and then had to play Noah. He was fresh,” Warriors coach Josh Leighton said. “In the match, he had to expend a little more energy than he would have liked.”

Rosenblat won the match 7-6(3), 6-3. It was during his next consolation match, against Metamora’s Will Koehrsen, when the 80-plus-degree temperatures and long rallies caught up to him.

“The back draw is definitely long and grueling,” Rosenblat said. “That last match was a grind.”

Koehrsen took the first set, Rosenblat the second. Then, trailing 3-0 in the third, the Warrior junior felt his left quadriceps start to cramp. The match was halted as Rosenblat asked for a trainer. He received treatment for several minutes.

Barely able to bend the leg, he decided to resume play. He won the next three games. After Koehrsen won the next two, Rosenblat countered with a service break and hold. It was now 5-5

“I was trying to shorten and finish points so I wouldn’t have to run around and put stress on that leg,” Rosenblat said

Added Leighton, “He found another gear and pushed through that set.”

That gear wasn’t enough to win as Rosenblat dropped the last two games and the match (4-6, 7-5, 7-5). Rosenblat said he was disappointed in the loss because he failed to reach a personal goal of playing on Saturday. But he added that what was driving him during his painful three-set match against Koehrsen was a cause greater than himself.

“In the state tournament, you want to get as many points for your team. That’s what I was going for,” Rosenblat said.

Deerfield’s doubles team of Chris Casati and Niko Wasilewicz won six matches at the state tournament, three in both the championship and consolation brackets. They lost twice to Lake Forest’s top team of Scott Christian and Connor O’Kelly. As a team, Deerfield finished in a tie for 10th place with Oak Park-River Forest.