Roach’s solid summer carries over
Libertyville's Halle Roach rips a shot during No. 1 singles play last week against Deerfield's Emily Kolpas. | Michael Schmidt~Sun-Times Media
Updated: October 1, 2012 3:57PM
Halle Roach was a gymnast before discovering the joys of tennis years ago as a fifth-grader.
Now a sophomore and the No. 1 singles player at Libertyville, Roach could have executed a few somersaults — at least — while waiting for lobs and high groundstrokes from Deerfield senior Emily Kolpas to finally land in a home dual on Aug. 22.
“I don’t like dealing with shots like that,” admitted Roach after her 6-0, 3-6, 6-1 win. “I love pace and I love hitting hard.”
But the good ones figure things out in mid-match and know how to adjust. Roach, the varsity’s No. 2 singles player last fall, displayed the necessary patience and grew comfortable generating groundstroke speed after a frustrating middle set.
“Halle is a good athlete who moves well,” said Wildcats coach Dan Kiernan.
Roach moved eastward often in a couple of summer tournament draws. Win after win advanced her to the final in two 16-and-under singles tourneys, one in Wisconsin (Princeton Open) and one at College Park in Bannockburn.
She won both.
She beat the No. 1 seed in both.
“Exciting,” said Roach, who hadn’t won a 16s tournament before this summer and was coming off shin splints that sidelined her during the winter months. “I’ve been working on the mental aspects of tennis, as well as making sure I was in good enough shape for summer tournaments.”
Libertyville lost 5-3 to Deerfield last week. The Wildcats got their other wins from sophomore Valentina Tsorotiotis (No. 4 singles) and sophomore Aleksandra “Ola” Grabowski/junior Maddie Wagner (No. 2 doubles). Grabowski/Wagner overcame a match point against them in their 3-6, 6-4, 7-6 (9-7) victory.
“Our team this year is kind of a quiet group,” said Kiernan, who lost vocal leaders Sarah Paulson (No. 1 singles) and MK Lee (No. 1 doubles) to graduation in the spring. “Sarah and MK — they brought a lot of energy to last year’s group.
“It’ll be a good learning year for us this season.”
Junior Abby Anderson and senior Emily Daluga played No. 1 doubles last week. The pair battled at No. 2 doubles last fall. Anderson is the Wildcats’ top doubles player.
Another LHS doubles player, senior Arantxa Garcia-Escobar, hopes to return to the courts soon. She suffered a right ACL knee tear in February — a year after tearing her left ACL.
Junior Penny Leventis and senior Fran Simonian competed at No. 3 doubles against the Warriors, while Libertyville senior Claire Eichmann played No. 2 singles. Senior Lindsey Mansfield (No. 3 singles) and Kristine Kinast/Katie Yan (No. 4 doubles) also struck shots for the hosts.
Blanked: Libertyville lost 7-0 to Glenbrook North in its season opener on Aug. 21. The most competitive match was at No. 1 singles, where Roach lost 6-4, 6-1.
Next: Libertyville has a busy stretch, starting with a dual against visiting Vernon Hills Aug. 30 at 4:30 p.m. The Wildcats entertain Carmel Catholic’s Corsairs Friday at 4:30 p.m. and compete in Saturday’s Fremd Invite beginning at 8:30 a.m.~ ~.