All three flights of doubles were clean enough to help Stevenson lift his first major trophy of the season on Saturday afternoon at the Buffalo Grove Invitational, and in doing so gave new head coach Izzy Balase his first big title.
A long three-set contest at no. 2 doubles saw Patriots duo Ervin Perkowski and Daniel Jaworski outlast opponents Glenbard North, Brandon Chie and Ryan Jeon, 6-3, 6-4. That clinched the team title with 44 overall points, five more than the Spartans’ 39.
Fierce winds and the first real warm day this tennis season would have been this great 8-team field. The field included Conant, a late addition to this annual invite after Bartlett was forced to drop several players to fall ill.
Conant finished third with 26 points, while doubles venue host Palatine was fourth with 17 points.
“I was really proud of our efforts today to give you some momentum heading into a very busy week with matches that include Zion-Benton, Glenbrook South, Lake Forest, then the Pitchford 32 next Friday and Saturday,” said Balase.
“There’s a lot of great Patriots tennis traditions made by our former longtime head coach Tom Stanhope. And with a nice core of returning players to help mentor our new guys, (we) feel like we can continue the tradition.” This spring, ”continued Balase.
His No. 1 man, Ashy Madhushankar, who is a returning state qualifier, fell to his final to Glenbrook North sophomore Konrad Kwiatkowski, 6-3, 6-0.
“I was our No. 2 a year ago behind Eric (Perkowski, third-place state medal winner) – so to be the top guy, everyone’s playing No. 1, for a big adjustment. My confidence is growing. Every match, the strength of my opponents, so I feel like I have a long run in the postseason, ”said the affable junior, who was 3-2 at state last season.
Kwiatkowski, a state qualifier in his rookie season, learned plenty after winning the tournament a year ago.
“Being fit and mentally strong is something I have realized and competing with the top players this season, so that’s something I worked on during the offseason,” said Kwiatkowski.
His teammate at No. 2 singles, Milo Holleb, needed three sets to defeat Stevenson from Caden Zhao. At No. 3, Dustin Zhao gave the Patriots eight important points when he went past Kiril Anastasov (Conant) 6-1, 6-0 to claim the top prize.
No. No. 3 seed Apoorv Patel from Buffalo Grove held his seed after his victory. 4 Michael McManaman (St. Viator) who was doubles at The Lions’ sectional starting lineup last season.
“Apoorv gained a lot of experience last year as our No. 1 and has played a lot of good players this spring, so we can make a strong run at the state to qualify for sectionals,” said Bison coach Michael Naughton.
“Matt has been playing really well for us. We have our No. 1 team, Colin Kochera and Andrew Firestone of our one-dubs team,” said coach Mary Louise Blaney, who took over the girls program in the fall, and is now in. charge this spring.
Kochera was a 1A state doubles qualifier a year ago.
Anthony Safonov and Karanvir Saini (Buffalo Grove) beat Conant’s Anthony Davidson and Yu Kitahara 7-5, 7-6 (3) in the third-place match.