Lake Forest tennis team will battle on — without Lipp
Lake Forest's Elizabeth Zordani serves one up during play in the New Trier Tournament on Saturday. | Joel Lerner~Sun-Times Media
Updated: November 4, 2011 7:05PM
Much of the talk has swirled around Madeline Lipp’s decision to play USTA national tournaments. But in Denise Murphy’s eyes, the demise of Lake Forest High School tennis has been greatly exaggerated.
Sure, the club will miss its leader and best player. Yet the Scouts coach sees an opportunity for other players to shine.
“People have no idea how deep and talented we are,” Murphy said.
Leading the Scouts to battle is sophomore Elizabeth Zordani. She finished second in the IHSA State Tournament in doubles with 2010 graduate Haleigh McPeek.
“I love how Elizabeth takes the ball on the rise,” Murphy said. “She takes the ball close to the baseline and she’s always on the offensive.”
Zordani is not interested in holding back.
“She’s constantly looking to make shots,” Murphy said. “She has great poise on the court, and she’s a very smart player.”
She’s off to a fast start at No. 1 singles. On Monday, Zordani beat Whitney Young freshman Natalie Whalen 6-1, 6-1.
“Elizabeth has composure way beyond her years,” the coach said. “She looks like a veteran out there.”
The No. 2 singles slot will be filled by Catherine Orfanos. She earned a 6-3, 7-5 decision over Whitney Young’s Kendall Scruggs on Monday.
“She’s extremely consistent from the baseline,” Murphy said. “She digs in deep. Today, she was down 5-4 in the second set and she won 7-5.”
On the doubles court, one pairing to watch is the No. 1 crew of sophomore Victoria Faulk and senior Megan Morris. The duo earned a 6-1, 6-2 victory over Whitney Young.
“Victoria is always poaching to the middle,” Murphy observed. “She’s always aggressive and does a great job of getting to the net.”
Morris is the perfect complement to Faulk, as she keeps the ball low and delivers consistently strong ground strokes.
“You don’t put the ball away unless your partner is setting you up,” Murphy said. “On Monday, the other team was hitting the ball up (after Morris shots), which allowed Victoria to go crazy at the net.”
Murphy added Morris is by definition a coachable player.
“You tell her to do something and she goes out and executes it,” the coach said. “She’s a great leader and role model for the younger kids.”
The Scouts also hope to have Taya Zoubareva back in the lineup soon. The junior, who won five matches in doubles at state last year, is recovering from a back injury.
“She’s going to have an MRI, so we’re hoping for the best,” Murphy said.
Best of luck: Murphy had an inkling Lipp might decide to spend her junior year playing national tournaments.
“I had a lingering feeling, but I was hoping it wouldn’t happen,” the coach said. “I wish her the best.”
Lake Forest, which won the IHSA State title last fall, will miss Lipp on many levels.
“She’s not only a great player, but she’s a great teammate and a great person,” Murphy said.
Recap: The Scouts beat Whitney Young 5-0. Over last weekend, the team went 3-1 in the New Trier Tournament.
Lake Forest opened the tourney with a 5-0 win over St. Charles North. The club then lost 3-2 to Glenbrook North, before rebounding to beat both Oak Park-River Forest (5-0) and New Trier Green (3-2).
New Trier sent two teams to the tournament. Murphy was told by the New Trier coaches that the Trevian teams had nearly equal talent.
The other New Trier team won the title by edging Stevenson 3-2.