Fitness carries Lake Forest to team title
Marika Cusick (left)and Caroline Lorenzini of Hinsdale Central during their semifinal match against Lake Forest's at the IHSA Girls Tennis Championships on Saturday, October 20, 2012 in Buffalo Grove. | Joel Lerner~Sun-Times Media
Updated: November 26, 2012 6:37AM
Depth and skill are mandatory traits for any tennis team hoping to win a state championship. But the third component needed to prevail at the oft-grueling three-day state tournament is fitness.
Lake Forest — which won the 2012 state championship Saturday — has been keenly aware of that formula during coach Denise Murphy’s tenure. The Scouts began conditioning as a team before the season, and that dedication paid off on the final day at state.
Winning state “was our goal we’ve been working at,” Lake Forest junior Elizabeth Zordani said. “Every practice has been really intense, and we’ve been doing a lot of fitness to prepare for (state).”
Lake Forest was awarded the state title as the sunlight waned over Buffalo Grove High School on Saturday. The Scouts scored 39 points to finish three ahead of runner-up Hinsdale Central (36 points). New Trier (28), Glenbrook South (24) and Lyons (20) rounded out the top five.
Lake Forest senior Maddie Lipp and freshman Christina Zordani — Elizabeth Zordani’s younger sister — won the state doubles title about an hour before the team trophies were awarded, but Elizabeth Zordani’s day still wasn’t done.
The junior spent a few minutes celebrating with her teammates before leaving for her fifth-place match against Marian junior Gaby Rosales. Elizabeth Zordani’s 7-5 victory over Rosales — consolation matches were shortened on the final day of the tournament because of a six-hour rain delay on Friday — was her fourth and final match of the day. It also underlined a big reason why the Scouts were able to win their second state title in three years Saturday.
“I think the key to everything was fitness,” Elizabeth Zordani said. “We’ve been waking up at six in the morning to do fitness. Before school started, we would do beach runs and a lot of training. That prepared us.”
CusicK, Lorenzini walk away content
Hinsdale Central seniors Marika Cusick and Caroline Lorenzini entered the state tournament as the only players in the singles and doubles fields who had won a state title.
The doubles duo left the tournament disappointed that this year didn’t end like 2010 and 2011 did — with Cusick and Lorenzini winning a doubles title. Still, their status as state champions allowed the pair to feel content about what they accomplished at Hinsdale Central.
“I’m happy,” Cusick said after the third-place match. “We played well in the third(-place match). It’s like, we won twice and you can’t really say we’re bad.”
Friends in the end
Juniors were awarded each of the top four seeds in the state singles tournament on Oct. 16, which set the stage for semifinal matches between two sets of good friends.
Although the seeds didn’t hold in the top-half of the singles bracket — Glenbrook South’s Caroline Ryba and New Trier’s Carol Finke, the No. 1 seed and a No. 3-4 seed, respectively, didn’t advance to the semifinals — Lyons’ Alex Chatt and Wheaton-Warrenville South’s Keisha Clousing made it to Saturday’s semifinals unscathed.
Chatt and Clousing played a hard-fought, three-set match that came down to the final game. Clousing managed to break Chatt’s serve in the final game to win 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 en route to winning the state singles title.
Chatt finished second to Morgan Park Academy’s Jerricka Boone at last year’s state tournament. The sting of once again coming so close to a title stuck with her after she beat Naperville Central’s Tiffany Chen to finish third Saturday, but Chatt said she was happy to see Clousing win.
“We’re friends on and off the court, so I was cheering for her in the end,” Chatt said. “Out of everyone here, I was OK to lose to her.”~.