Girls tennis: St. Viator starts strong on 1st day at state

  • Prospect's Anna Lizama hits a forehand Thursday at the state tournament at Hersey High School in Arlington Heights.

      Prospect's Anna Lizama hits a forehand Thursday at the state tournament at Hersey High School in Arlington Heights. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

  • Lena Dogadalski of Libertyville gets ready to hit a backhand during one of her matches Thursday at state.

      Lena Dogadalski of Libertyville gets ready to hit a backhand during one of her matches Thursday at state. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

  • Cassie Voicu, returns a volley as Anna Lizama, of Prospect watches her teammate during the IHSA State girls tennis tournament Thursday October 20, 2022 at Hersey High School in Arlington Heights.

      Cassie Voicu, returns a volley as Anna Lizama, of Prospect watches her teammate during the IHSA State girls tennis tournament Thursday October 20, 2022 at Hersey High School in Arlington Heights. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

  • Cassie Voicu, of Prospect during the IHSA State girls tennis tournament Thursday October 20, 2022 at Hersey High School in Arlington Heights.

      Cassie Voicu, of Prospect during the IHSA State girls tennis tournament Thursday October 20, 2022 at Hersey High School in Arlington Heights. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

  • Ana Sukovic, of Stevenson during the IHSA State girls tennis tournament Thursday October 20, 2022 at Hersey High School in Arlington Heights.

      Ana Sukovic, of Stevenson during the IHSA State girls tennis tournament Thursday October 20, 2022 at Hersey High School in Arlington Heights. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

  • Abby Ma, right & Ana Sukovic, of Stevenson react to a point during the state tennis tournament Thursday at Hersey High School in Arlington Heights.

      Abby Ma, right & Ana Sukovic, of Stevenson react to a point during the state tennis tournament Thursday at Hersey High School in Arlington Heights. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

  • Abby Ma, of Stevenson during the IHSA State girls tennis tournament Thursday October 20, 2022 at Hersey High School in Arlington Heights.

      Abby Ma, of Stevenson during the IHSA State girls tennis tournament Thursday October 20, 2022 at Hersey High School in Arlington Heights. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

  • Lena Dogadalski, of Libertyville during the IHSA State girls tennis tournament Thursday October 20, 2022 at Hersey High School in Arlington Heights.

      Lena Dogadalski, of Libertyville during the IHSA State girls tennis tournament Thursday October 20, 2022 at Hersey High School in Arlington Heights. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

 
By Mike Garofola
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 10/20/2022 8:00 PM

One year after claiming its best finish ever at the girls tennis Class 1A state tournament, St. Viator, thanks in part to a wonderful first day by No. 1 Meredith Garcia (30-4), finds itself in position to earn a second straight top 10 when the final match is over Saturday afternoon.

The Lions junior, who led her club to a sectional title a week ago, cruised to a trio of wins. She will now face 3-4 seed Megan Trifilio from Fenwick, who along with Chicago Latin is tied atop the leaderboard with 20 points each.

 

"I am really excited for tomorrow to come," said Garcia, whose improvement with her serve and overall consistency has proved to be the ticket to her success this fall.

"My first serve percentage is much higher than last year. At times, I was just pushing my serves, and there wasn't much pace on (them) either. But this year, I am so much more confident in my game, and the experience of having played at state last year at doubles has allowed me to come here with confidence and less nerves."

Garcia teamed with Allison Jodain a year ago to go 4-2 overall, dropping a super tiebreaker in the consolation quarterfinals.

"Meredith is really humble (sweet) -- always helping others. She was our MVP this season," said Lions coach Mary Grace Blaney.

While the Lions stand ninth overall, Stevenson is sitting fourth in Class 2A with two others with (14) points, chasing tourney leader, New Trier (20), reigning champion Hinsdale Central (18) and third-place Deerfield with 16 points.

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A deep run cannot start without a strong first day. Stevenson junior Sarah Wang was in total control, conceding just one game during her three matches to advance into Friday's 9 a.m. quarterfinals at host Buffalo Grove against Lizzie Isyanov from York.

Wang, who won it all a year ago, once again was a model of perfection. She is on course to play No. 2 seed Madison Lui (New Trier) in the finals should both players advance.

The New Trier team of Keri Rothenberg and Lucy Parilli would outlast the Patriots dynamic duo of Abby Ma and Ana Sukovic in a long three-setter (5-7, 6-2, 6-4) to stay in the front draw. The Patriots fell into the consolation bracket Friday at 8 a.m. in Wheeling.

"It certainly was a winnable match. A couple of key points in the later stages that we lost in that third set, but overall it was a good effort by the girls. (So) now we have to bounce back at doubles on Friday to get after the teams ahead of us," said Patriots coach Jose Morales.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Libertyville senior Margaret Forkner, sixth a year ago at state, remains alive in the front draw following three impressive straight set victories.

The three-time state qualifier, and 5-8 seed, will now face 3-4 seed Jessica Kovalcik (Plainfield North) Friday morning.

Both doubles teams from Barrington will look to make a long run through the back-draw on Friday with sectional champions Caitlin Kavanagh and Olivia Paik taking on Neuqua Valley, and teammates Sakina Kanji and Emily Yang meeting Edwardsville.

Two-time state qualifier Katrine Boianov (Lake Zurich) will play Amy Park (Rockford Auburn) Friday morning at Fremd in her fourth round consolation contest. Conant sophomore Kaitlyn Strilich plays Sophia Filip of York, also at Fremd.

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