Girls tennis finishes second at home invitational

Team contends with powerhouses Lake Forest and Stevenson



Sophomore Ashtin Hara returns a shot during varsity match in her freshman season

Hungry to improve on last year’s fourth place finish at state, girl’s tennis opened the 2019 season with a strong second place finish at their home invitational on Aug. 30.

The Trevians, playing host to 13 other teams at the A.C. Nielsen Tennis Center in Winnetka, comfortably won their first two dual matches of the invitational and defeated a tough Stevenson team in the semifinals.

They put up a solid effort against Lake Forest in the finals, but the Scouts’ talent and skill ultimately proved too much to overcome.

Head Coach Jerry Morse-Karzen was upbeat about his team’s overall performance, drawing positive signs from the way they challenged Stevenson and Lake Forest for every point.

“I was very pleased,” said Morse-Karzen. “It was the first match of our season and I think it bodes well for us for the future.”

In a tennis invitational, teams play dual matches that consist of five individual matches—two singles and three doubles.

Though Lake Forest won the final dual match of the invitational, the Trevians fought hard and were able to keep several of the individual final matches close.

Morse-Karzen felt that senior Ali Benedetto’s effort against defending state champion Kiley Rabjohns in the number one singles final underscored this confident, competitive attitude.

In the end, Rabjohns won the final in two sets, but Benedetto demonstrated fighting ability by jumping out to a 5-2 game lead to start the first set.

“I played a great first set, had a lead of 5-2 but lost the set 6-7. I played well in the second set but lost some energy,” said Benedetto. “[Rabjohns] is a great player and I gave a good fight.”

Rabjohns, ranked as the 26th best player nationally by Tennis Recruiting Network, does not give up points easily. Keeping the number one singles final close was a real testament to Benedetto’s skill and competitiveness.

When discussing how the rest of the team handled the tough competition, Morse-Karzen highlighted their comeback in the semifinal dual match against Stevenson.

“We only won the first set in one of our matches, but the second and third doubles rebounded and won their second sets, so that was a big win for us,” said Morse-Karzen.

The Trevians had to have total confidence in each other’s abilities for this comeback to occur. According to Sophomore Ashtin Hara, the team has developed a strong camaraderie, which helps provide that confidence.

“It was exciting to be back on the court. I love the feeling of being part of a team,” said Hara, a member of the Trevian’s number one doubles pair. “There’s no other feeling that can replace it.”

Looking ahead, the Trevians hope that this comeback against Stevenson and their strong performance versus Lake Forest is a sign of things to come this season. Both Morse-Karzen and his players’ ultimate goal for the season is to earn a trophy at state this October by finishing in the top three.

“We’d like to bring home a trophy from the state tournament. [If we] finish in the top three, we bring back the trophy,” said Morse-Karzen.

Moving up from last year’s fourth place finish at state will not be easy. Last year’s top three finishers—Hinsdale Central, Lake Forest, and Stevenson—are all back. The Trevians also cannot overlook their conference and sectional competitions.

Benedetto stated the importance of not overlooking these preliminary competitions.

“My goals are to win conference, sectionals, and possibly state,” she said.

Despite all these obstacles, the Trevians have the ability and willpower to compete with anyone in the state. They demonstrated that fact in their opening invitational. And, between now and October, the team has time to get better.

A clear second singles player has yet to establish herself, and the coaches are trying to figure out the best possible doubles pairs.

“I think what we have to do now is play some more matches and see some more results and see what makes sense for the team,” said Morse-Karzen.

Once the Trevians can figure out which players to put in which positions and maintain their competitive fire, there will be no limit to what they can do this season.

“I think we had some good wins [at the invitational], and I am looking forward to seeing more as the season progresses,” said Hara.