Girls State Tennis: Homewood-Flossmoor’s Allison Lessner aims to be singles sensation
By Jeff Vorva For Sun-Times Media October 23, 2013 8:38PM
Homewood-Flossmoor's Allison Lessner has been a strong doubles player for three years but this year is heading to state as a singles player. | Jeff Vorva/For Sun-Times Media
Girls State Tennis
When: Thursday through Saturday
Where: Tournament central is Buffalo Grove High School.
SOUTHLAND SINGLES ENTRANTS
Khalia Powell (Sr.), De La Salle; Allison Lessner (Sr.), Homewood-Flossmoor; Haleigh Porter (Fr.) Homewood-Flossmoor; Lisa Gawron (Sr.), Lemont; Hope Ritter (Sr.), Lincoln-Way East; Andie Doyle (Sr.), Lincoln-Way East; Katherine Kaczmarz (Sr.); Lincoln-Way West; Tomi Joe Mansell (Fr.), Lockport; Gaby Rosales (Sr.), Marian Catholic; Alexis Fletcher (Soph.), Oak Lawn; Hannah Davis (Soph.), Providence; Molly Traverso (Sr.), Sandburg; Nicole Pamphilis (Jr.), Stagg; Jillian Atkenson (Jr.), Stagg; Brytish Burts (Jr.), T.F. South; Haley Wilcox (Jr.), Tinley Park.
SOUTHLAND DOUBLES ENTRANTS
Grace Furlong (Sr.)-Raquel Hamstra (Jr.), Chicago Christian; Claudia McGee (Sr.)-Janay Stowers (Sr.), Hillcrest; Timara Mexwell (Jr.)-Sophia Osabuohien (Soph.), Homewood-Flossmoor; Brittany Henry (Soph.)-Kaela Mack (Soph.), Homewood-Flossmoor; Miranda Bouwer (Jr.)-Hilary Van Drunen (Soph.), Illiana Christian; Sarah Florek (Sr.)-Hannah Richardson (Sr.); Lincoln-Way Central; Stefanie Hunniford (Sr.)-Jacqui Michuda (Soph.), Lincoln-Way East; Sam Pietruszynski (Sr.)-Meg Witt (Soph.), Lincoln-Way North; Alex Hodges (Sr.)-Emily Hodges (Sr.), Lincoln-Way North; Hana Khatib (Jr.)-Jennifer Lee (Sr.), Lockport; Hailey Bruining (Soph.)-Britney Kupiec (Sr.), Lockport; Courtney Fogge (Sr.)-Kaelyn Pace (Sr.), Marist; Shalby Daniel (Sr.)-West Courtney (Soph.), Morgan Park; Kelly Ruane (Sr.)-Maggie Ruane (Sr.), Providence; Priua Sharma (Fr.)-Allia Abunaim (Jr.), Sandburg; Leeza Bodnar (Soph.)-Sylvia Kulbokas (Soph.), Stagg.
Updated: November 25, 2013 1:14PM
There weren’t too many surprises surrounding Homewood-Flossmoor this year.
The Vikings won the matches they were supposed to and lost against some of the elite squads in the state.
They were expected to dominate in the south suburbs, and they did, winning the SouthWest Suburban Blue title and their 29th straight sectional crown.
There was one surprise. That came early in the season, when doubles star Allison Lessner said she wanted to try her hand at No. 1 singles.
“She made up her mind that she was going to try out for singles. It was kind of big news around the program that she was going to do that,” H-F coach Don Baron said. “My hat is off to her. She defended her turf. She won challenge matches fair and square. She’s earned it, and she is carrying on the tradition.
“For anyone to make a leap like that and play singles at H-F ... what an accomplishment that is. It couldn’t happened to a better person.’’
Lessner, Haleigh Porter and the doubles teams of Timara Maxwell and Sophia Osabuohien and Brittany Henry and Kaela Mack lead the Vikings into the state tournament, which begins Thursday. H-F team took fifth place two years ago. Vikings players said throughout the season that a top-three finish is a goal.
Lessner finished second in sectional play and Porter third, but interesting, state officials seeded Porter 20th while Lessner did not gain a seed.
Baron said Porter, a freshman, is ranked high in her age group in United States Tennis Association play and could surprise a few people this weekend.
“She can knock off some heavy hitters — she’s a wolf in sheep’s clothing,” Baron said. “She’s a freshman but this isn’t her first rodeo. We have an interesting mix of youth and experienced players. It’s an intriguing squad.’’
While H-F is the dominant south suburban team in the meet, Marian Catholic’s Gaby Rosales is the area’s premier singles player. She’s coming off a sixth-place finish in state in 2012 and is a 5-8 seed this year.
Baron saw Rosales beat his two players in sectional play last weekend.
“She’s a ringer. She’s a stud,” Baron said. “She’s incredible and tenacious, and there is no shame in losing to her.’’
In 2012, Rosales won for straight matches in state play before she dropped a 6-1, 6-1 decision to Lyons’ Alex Chatt. Chatt went on to finish third and is the No. 1 seed this year.