CITA leagues begin on September 7th. Are you ready? Schedules are available online.
NCW3.5 Champions- Midtown-Palatine
Last year Midtown-Palatine was in first place and had a significant lead in the standings only to lose in the semis against Lincolnshire by a set. This year Midtown-Palatine had a significant lead in the standings and won in the semis against Libertyville and won in the finals against College Park. In both cases, MTP won decisively 5-1. Midtown-Palatine has a “deep” team with 25 eligible players for the playoffs. This allowed them some flexibility on who to play and kept the other teams guessing. College Park East came into the playoffs in 3rd place and pulled a one set win over Midtown-Chicago in the semis to get to the Finals. CPAC-E’s top court team, Nikki Krakowski and Tiffany Simanek, did not disappoint and kept their winning record intact beating MTP’s Erica Donofrio and Megan Elwell. Court 1 was CPAC’s only win. On courts 2-6 MTP won all but one court in 2 sets. MTP’s Davida Kozlowski and Beth Zawlenski played CPAC-s Stephanie Cohen and Heather Curtis. On court 3, MTP’s Alaina Murawski and Amanda Patten played CPAC’s Rita Manka and Kim Walder. On court 4, MTP’s Sally Fessenden and Bev Vacval played against CPAC’s Karen Borgerding and Susan Chaplik. On court 5, MTP’s Elizabeth Jimenez and Wendy Farley see-sawed a win against CPAC’s Angelee Boyd and Anne Douglas in a 3 set match. And on court 6, MTP’s Kim Lee and Lara Berry played against CPAC’s Julie Mangione and Andrea McArdle. Pictured from left to right: Lara Berry, Gina Quatrochi, Kim Lee, Amanda Patten, Karen Johnstone, Alaina Murawski (captain), Beth Zawilenski, Liz Jimenez, Coach Todd Johnson, Bev Vacval, Sally Fessenden, Wendy Farley, Kelly Thut, Megan Elwell, Erica Donofrio. Not pictured: Holly Belconis, Cynthia DeStefano, Joanne Elliott, Susie Kilayko, Bonnie Kipperman, Davida Kozlowski, Lisa Nora, Allyn Selesky, Stacy Simpson-Logan, Kitty Skor, Alicia Tisbo, Jessica Trzop
Libertyville’s Girls High School team came into the finals with the lead when North Shore’s team came up short a player. But even without that gift, Libertyville was able to win on their own merits. On court 1 LIB’s Isabel Alviar/Kalli Majewski played a close match against NSRC’s Abbey Reinhart/Caroline Chatas winning 6-4, 7-5. On court 2 LIB’s Sabrina Mella/Karina Falkstrom came away with a win against NSRC’s Nina Leutz/Emily Langsam. On court 3, the 3 players from LIB and NSRC played round robin singles for the experience, with the doubles win going to LIB by default. Libertyville won 3-0.
Midtown-Chicago has once again won the Men’s Open Final. Their challenger was College Park who was in danger of dropping out of the league at the start of the season. With only 4 teams in this league, there is always that risk. This year, before the start of the season, some accommodations and conversations occurred for the good of the league. When possible, we continued to have 6 courts of doubles but accommodated for 4 courts only if needed. We allowed the players on the Men’s 4.5 team the ability to play on the Open team an unlimited number of times. We monitored and addressed situations as the came up with an eye towards the following season. Our hope is the juniors we helped cultivate will return, and by having a Men’s Open league available to them, they will be challenged and find new social connections as the current Men’s Open players have been able to forge. The Men’s Open Finals was played with College Park coming up one player short. They needed to default a court which did not bode well for them. However, on court 1, CPAC’s Alex Lambropoulos/Lawon Barter eeked out a very close win against MTC”s Adham Alaily/Ryan Edlefson winning 7-5, 7-6(6). But Midtown’s strength continued down the lineup. On court 2, MTC’s Kris Braaten/Sinisa Rashberger found their rhythm over CPAC’s Chris Nowak/Scott Foster winning 6-4, 6-2. On court 3MTC’s Jared Dorfman/Jeff French pulled out a close match against CPAC-s Andrew Kolesnikov/Mark Vaverka 6-4, 6-3. On court 4, MTC’s Dave Clark/Thanos Kantarelis overwhelmed CPAC’s Trevor Desilva/Steve Mutchnik 6-0, 6-1. On court 5, as a result of matches being decided, the 3rd set was at 10 point match tie-breaker going to CPAC. CPAC’s James Forster/Geoff Butler won against MTC’s James Moultan/Chris Tkach 3-6, 6-3, 1-0(3). Midtown-Chicago won 4-2.
The Racquet Club of Lake Bluff has won the NC Men’s 4.5 league finals two times in a row. Last year they were able to squeak out a win with an extra set. This year they came away with a 4-2 win over Libertyville. Three of the 6 matches went to 3 sets. And all but one match was fairly close, which means that on another day there could have been a reversal of fortunes and Libertyville might have come away the winner. On court 1, LIB’s Gian Remigio/Alex Donkor sweated it out against RCLB’s Enoch Leung/Peter Morawiecki winning 4-6, 6-3, 7-5. On court 2, RCLB’s Nick Andres/Mike Raymond had a nail biter against LIB’s Dan Kiernan/David Currie winning 7-5, 7-6. On court 3, RCLB’s Peter Krizman/Steve Paulson took out LIB’s Matt Deans/Kip Olson 6-2, 6-0. On court 4, LIB’s Sydney Mella/David Sitko started out slow against RCLB’s Nejd Alsikafi/John Pucin but ended up winning 1-6, 6-4, 6-2. On court 5, RCLB’s Scott Holdebrecht/Dennis Dobrin won against LIB’s Jon Stauffer/Scott Cornehles 6-3, 7-5 and on court 6, RCLB’s Johannes Tauscher/Jon Laven played a tight 1st set against LIB’s Arvind Sreedharan/Alex George before winning 4-6, 6-1, 6-2.
NC Men's 4.0 Champions - Northbrook
It has been a long while since Northbrook’s Men’s 4.0 team has made it to the Finals. So the grin and look of relief on Richard Michalski’s face was understandable. For River Trails, a couple of key players on their team had to make a choice. Do they play in the Finals of CITA’s Men’s 4.0 league or do they represent the USTA Chicago District team in the Midwest Senior Team Championships in East Lansing? Bob Zumph and Bob Shineflug opted to play the Midwest Seniors and ended up coming out winners in their age division there. Here at CITA’s finals, on court 1, NRC’s Mark Rawlins/Dennis Weil took on RTTC’s Les Kero/Bill Johnston. Bill Johnston opted to stay in town to try to help his team but NRC ended up winning 6-3, 6-4. On court 2, NRC’s Mark Campanile aka The Racquet Man/Jeff Callen played against RTTC’s Mike Boyle/Jon Erickson and won 6-2, 6-4. On court 3, NRC’s Sebastian Sabbione/Dani Barron have had a solid year playing against RTTC’s veteran players John Wentworth/Brooks Male who have also had a solid year. NRC pulled ahead and didn’t look back winning 6-2, 6-1. On court 4, NRC’s David Perez/Dale Hsu played well together against RTTC’s Warren Erland/Dan Robin. And then the tides turned in River Trails’ favor. On court 5 and court 6, RTTC’s Phil Dlouhy/Brian Lowy and Renato DiSandro/Michael Schultz pulled ahead themselves and didn’t look back against NRC’s Kent Donewald/Rick Murray (ct. 5) and Andy Doppelt/Andrew Rubanovich (ct. 6) winning on both courts 6-2, 6-1. Northbrook won 4-2 against River Trails
NC Men's 3.5 Champions - River Trails
River Trails has been in the finals of the Men’s 3.5 league for the last three years. Before that, in 2013, Midtown-Palatine held the trophy. While Midtown-Palatine has been in the playoffs in the intervening years, they knew River Trails was going to bring game, and they did. As Bill Johnston wrote: “Our CITA Men’s 3.5 travel team finished the regular season in 1st place and took on Midtown-Palatine for the playoff final. The team started off looking a little nervous for the first 15 minutes or so, but then settled in to control their own destiny. They won 3 out of 4 matches to win the traveling trophy. This marks 3 consecutive years of winning the year-end title for this team!” On court 1, RTTC’s Howard Braun/Vito Demonte won against MTP’s David Olson/Ryan Kluck 6-2, 6-1. On court 2, Midtown Palatine’s only win, MTP’s Malcolm Rosenfel/Michael Waks won against RTTC’s Jared Simon/Bill Schnur 7-6(6) 6-2. On court 3 RTTC’s Alan Halleck/Mark Gruhike had a tough 1st set against MTP’s Dave Moslander/Greg Morin before closing it out 7-6(5), 6-3. On court 4, RTTC’s Bob Harrald/Frank Stanhope took on MTP’s Tom Fletcher/Jerry Hampton and won 6-2, 6-4.
The Open Red league has a variety of levels and styles of play. On court 1, you can meet up against world class players, college level players or players who used to play junior level tennis. When power meets power all the weapons come out. This year College Park East advanced into the Finals disrupting the rhythm of the Northbrook vs. North Shore rivalry. Each team brought their best players on court 1. College Park had Tina Pisnik and Mira Radu. North Shore had Leanne Baker and Becky Moffatt. Both teams were well versed in doubles strategies, in movement, in shot selection. CPAC-E came out the winner with a close 7-6, 6-3 win. On court 2, CPAC’s Julia Sapozhnikova/Michelle Granger played against NSRC’s Judy Bavlsik/Kelly Chestnut and pulled out a 7-5, 6-4 win. On court 3, NSRC’s Lisa Culp/Maria Fernitz played against CPAC’s Suzanne DeMirjian/Juliet Plosnker and won 6-4, 6-2. On court 4, NSRC’s Jan Karzen/Amy Cummingham gave NSRC a win over CPAC’s Debbie Fisch/Kathrina Busse. Debbie Clark/Lynn Oddi played a 3 set match against NSRC’s Stephanie Hill/Roberta Goodman winning 6-1, 4-6, 6-1. On court 6, CPAC’s Susie Selbst/Judy Morgan played a long 3 set match against NSRC’s Beth Robitaille/Carla Young winning 6-1, 6-7, 7-6. Judy Morgan felt some pain in her hand but played through it not knowing she had torn a tendon in her hand. What a team player! College Park won 4-2.
Midtown-Palatine has been in the finals of the NC Women’s Open Green league for three years in a row. But until this year they never came away with a trophy. In 2014 they lost to Midtown-Bannockburn 4-2. In 2015 they lost to RC Lake Bluff in sets. But this year was finally their year. Their opponent was the same as last year and many of the players on both teams were the same but the outcome was different. On court 1, the match went to 3 sets with MTP’s Maggie Tepas/Shannon Crowther taking on RCLB’s Zinnia Leamana/Beth Jones. RCLB won the 1st set 6-1 but couldn’t sustain the momentum. MTP won sets 2 & 3 6-3, 7-5. On court 2, MTP’s Laura Nerup/Janet Williams played against RCLB’s Debbie Springgate/Kerry Nowicki. Last year RCLB won. But this year, Laura and Janet pulled out a 6-2, 6-2 win. On court 3, MTP’s Kristin Lueken/Karen Morand played against RCLB’s Catherine Batinovic/Julia Miller. Both teams moved up a court from last year. RCLB won last year but this year MTP won 6-4, 6-3. On court 4, RCLB’s Michelle Ihlandfeldt/Pam Click won their only match for RCLB against MTP’s Gayle Dominicis/Vicki Lorenzo. Michelle and Pam won 6-2, 6-1. On court 5, MTP’s Mary Etherington/Lea Regan played a tough match against RCLB’s Lynn Bruch/Laurel Bufe winning 6-4, 6-4. On court 6, MTP’s Julie Fischer/Emily Wittenberg won 6-2, 6-1 against RCLB’s Leslie McPeek/Linda DeBiase.
Last year, Midtown-Chicago had a substantial regular season lead only to lose to Lakeshore in the finals. This year Midtown-Chicago was facing a similar scenario-a substantial regular season lead and their long-time rival Lakeshore in the finals It came down to court 3’s 3 set match. All other matches were dispatched in 2 sets. On court 1, LSSF’s Sara Aldinger/Taylor Wade played a closed match against MTC’s Cheryl Imo/Elizabeth Burns winning 6-4, 6-4. On court 2, LSSF’s Nancy Gaspadarek/Gwen Pontikes played a close 1st set then stretched on the lead against MTC’s Sophia Naiditch/Jill Siegel winning 6-4, 6-1. On court 3, LSSF’s Kristin Davin/Tina Chang won in 3 sets against MTC’s Sarah Rothman/Kristina Hilb but it was the 2nd set win by MTC that gave them the edge when the scores were tallied. LSSF won this match 6-1, 2-6, 6-4. On court 4, MTC’s Colette Kelsey/LorRonda Miller won against LSSF’s Sandy Wang/Hilary Bruce. On court 5, MTC’s Rebecca Bacote/Kathy Rain won against LSSF’s Emily Emmerman/Vina Maniquis 6-2, 6-3. And on court 6, MTC’s Corinne Pinsof-Kaplan/Cheryl Cutinho won against LSSF’s Tina Leopardo/Deirdre Jameson 6-1, 6-3. So while Lakeshore took the top courts and Midtown-Chicago took the bottom courts, it was court 3 that determined the winner by sets. Midtown-Chicago won 3(7)-3(6).