Girls tennis finals predictions - 2012
Port Huron Northern, Clarkston and Grosse Pointe South are the class of this division - appropriately ranked No. 1-2-3 heading into the finals at Midland. Northern beat Clarkston twice this season head to head, both times by a 5-3 score. Clarkston beat GPS 5-3. But in a tournament format, it's all about depth and scoring at all flights. And that's what may separate the winner from the other two.
My predicted Top-10
1. Port Huron Northern 27 points
2. Clarkston 26
3. Grosse Pointe South 23
4. Ann Arbor Pioneer 19
T-5. Ann Arbor Huron 16
T-5. Saline 16
7. Midland Dow 14
T-8. Northville 13
T-8. Novi 13
10. Troy 12
1S Katie Brozovich (C) d. Mary Hanna (S)
2S Lexi Baylis (C) d. Allie Sweeney (PHN)
3S Lizzie Brozovich (PHN) d. Paige Olsen (C)
4S Rae Brozovich (PHN) d. Catherine Chou (AAH)
1D Dana Olsen-Olivia Dunn (C) d. Alexa Arvidson-Julia Rampton (AAP)
2D Amelia Boccaccio-Carrie Lynch (GPS) d. Elizabeth Sakorafis-Jordan Hermiz (NOR)
3D Anna Borowicz-Sarah Court (AAP) d. Amy Tseng-Maggie Bachella (PHN)
4D Alyssa Roopas-Evie Van DeWege (AAP) d. Monique Zentner-Katie Hubregsen (C)
Thoughts: I tried to give Clarkston every possible edge in close matches, even predicting a mini upset at No. 1 singles and No. 1 doubles. Port Huron Northern is just too strong on the back half of its singles lineup and just balanced enough in doubles to make it the team to beat. If Clarkston can get fellow Oakland County power Novi to pull off a second-round upset at No. 4 doubles, the Wolves might have a chance. That, or if their No. 2 and 3 doubles can somehow pick up a big upset win in the second round, they might be able to get by the Huskies.
If Ann Arbor Pioneer had a stronger singles lineup, it might have a chance to make it a four-team race. But tough draws at 1-2-3 singles hurt its chances. If my predictions hold true, it could be quite a day for the Brozovich family. Lizzie and Rae are the younger first cousins of Katie. One of their teams should walk away with the championship trophy.
Though I didn't list it above, I do think Novi's Abby Wang - the fourth seed at No. 1 singles - will reach the semifinals, where she'll face Hanna. Same goes for Troy's No. 1 doubles team of Kalie Collins and Tonya Malyarenko. I've got them falling to Olsen and Dunn in the semifinals.
I'll be at these finals in Kalamazoo. And I can't wait. Again, maybe I was a little fixated on the local teams competing for a chance to deny Grand Rapids Forest Hills Northern of a state title for the first time since Seaholm did it back in 2004. But it's for good reason. Marian, Andover and Seaholm enter as the 1-2-3 ranked teams in the state. And there's no reason to think they won't finish 1-2-3 on Saturday afternoon.
Balance throughout each of their lineups will carry them into the finals, all with a chance to take home the title.
My predicted Top-10
1. Birmingham Marian 29 points
T-2. Birmingham Seaholm 27
T-2. Bloomfield Hills Andover 27
4. Okemos 20
5. Farmington Hills Mercy 19
6. Forest Hills Northern 18
T-7. Bloomfield Hills Lahser 14
T-7. Traverse City Central 14
9. Grand Rapids Northview 10
10. Mason 7
1S Mollie Fox (BHL) d. Kerry Hu (BHA)
2S Labina Petrovska (BS) d. Kristen Law (BHA)
3S Catherine Christian (BM) d. Draga Sabotic (O)
4S Lauren Dietz (BM) d. Claire Markley (BS)
1D Victoria Minzlaff-Ariel Verbrugge (FHN) d. Kelly Lunghamer-Olivia Underwood (BHM)
2D Anna Hinrichs-Christy Snyder (FHM) d. Paige Atkinson-Hailey Brownstein (BHA)
3D Jackie Meier-Rachel Wilson (BS) d. Molly MacKenzie-Bianca Emde (BHM)
4D Macy Hudson-Mallory Hudson (BHM) d. Sydney Aronovitz-Madison Lorenz (BHA)
Thoughts: Where do I start? I mentioned in yesterday's blog that I was disappointed to see Seaholm's Nancy Benda and Andover's Kerry Hu pitted against each other in the second round. I'm basing my decision to pick Hu on the fact that her sprained ankle won't bother her much. If it does - and same goes for Benda - then each might get knocked off before the finals. Either way, Mollie Fox of Lahser is my clear-cut choice to run away with the No. 1 singles title.
Okemos got some love by the seeding committee in singles. But something tells me Andover's Kristen Law is primed for an upset in the semifinals at No. 2 singles. And if Labina Petrovska of Seaholm can make it three straight wins over Marian's Elaine Apaza in the semifinals at No. 2 singles, it will be one heckuva championship match. At 3-singles, Catherine Christian (Marian) and Lauren Frazier (Seaholm) split this season, with Frazier beating CC in a close, 3-setter in the regional final. Expect Saturday's semifinal to be another close match.
Another barn burner should be Mercy and Marian in a semifinal at No. 1 doubles. Mercy's Margaux Kabodian and Jessie Guindi split with Marian's Kelly Lunghamer and Olivia Underwood. This one could go either way, which is why it'll be so fun to watch. Either way, the winner will get Forest Hills Northern, the best team in the state.
I see Oakland County matchups in the finals at 2-3-4 doubles. In the end, I wouldn't be surprised to see Marian, Seaholm or Andover win it all. If Benda beats Hu, Seaholm could pull it out. I don't have Andover winning a flight championship. If it does, the Barons could win it all.
Unlike Divisions 1 and 2, where a match or two could decide the championship, Division 3 is a bit more clear cut. Cranbrook enters ranked No. 1 and beat the No. 2 team, East Grand Rapids, 6-2 a couple weeks ago. And that was with Alexandria Najarian still out of the lineup. Now that she's back, the Cranes are running on all cylinders. The real battle will be for second place, where Country Day, East Grand Rapids and Allegan will all battle it out.
My predicted Top-10
1. Cranbrook 33 points
2. Country Day 25
3. East Grand Rapids 23
4. Allegan 22
5. Holland Christian 17
6. Forest Hills Eastern 16
7. St. Clair 14
8. GR Catholic Central 11
9. Sturgis 10
10. Haslett 6
1S Alexandria Najarian (CK) d. Sydney Liggins (GRCC)
2S Madelyn Karoub (CD) d. Abbey Dekkinga (A)
3S Marina Selenica (CD) d. Madeline Bissett (FHE)
4S Jane Ziecik (CD) d. Alissa Rowens (CK)
1D Megan Simmons-Meg Phyle (CK) d. Kaycee Harness-Christin Drozd (A)
2D Carly Sillivan-Maddy Boylen (EGR) d. Claire Huttenlocher-Maria Landi (CK)
3D Briana Letica-Holly Meers (CK) d. Lauren Krug-Jeanie Weinrich (EGR)
4D Lauren Lanzon-Christina Roualet (CK) d. Kathleen Schumar-Margaret Gregg (EGR)
Thoughts: I don't often go out to a lot of practices, but last week I went out to Cranbrook for a feature story on Najarian. And what I witnessed was one of the most intense tennis practices I've ever seen. Coaches Keith Cullen and Jeff Etterbeek make the most of their time with the girls. And it always seems to pay off as the Cranes are battle tested and ready to go at states.
Despite having the dominant singles lineup in the state, Country Day lacks depth in doubles and that'll keep the Yellowjackets from catching Cranbrook. That's exactly what will prove to be the difference for the Cranes. I expect all four doubles teams to reach the finals, with three winning them.
This was by far the hardest division to predict. Heck, half the teams involved haven't seen all too many of the other teams competing. And considering there are just a handful of metro-Detroit teams playing in Holland, it's really hard for me to gauge the competition. But I tried. The easy part was figuring out the winner. Last year's runner-up, and the team that was ranked No. 1 from start to finish this spring, Academy of the Sacred Heart, has the most talent from top to bottom.
If the singles can pick up a few key victories, the doubles will carry the Gazelles to the first state championship in school history. Williamston, currently ranked No. 2, Ann Arbor Greenhills (#10) and St. Mary's Catholic Central (#7) should push Sacred Heart. Notre Dame Prep's balanced lineup should carry it to a top-eight finish, according to my estimates. If the Irish can pick up an upset or two, they could vault themselves into the top-five.
My predicted Top-10
1. Academy of the Sacred Heart 27 points
T-2. Williamston 22
T-2. Ann Arbor Greenhills 22
4. St. Mary's Catholic Central 20
5. Lansing Catholic Central 18
6. Portland 17
7. Ann Arbor Gabriel Richard 16
8. Notre Dame Prep 14
9. Grandville Calvin Christian 11
10. Traverse City St. Francis 10
1S Kasey Gardiner (AAG) d. Meika Ashby (KH)
2S Colleen O'Brien (AAG) d. Katie Blake (P)
3S Calla Ramont (LC) d. Charli Greenhoe (P)
4S Corrine Gardner (AAG) d. Bailey Ray (TCSF)
1D Kelsey Nagle-Emily Nash (ASH) d. Caitlyn Chick-Delaney Nikolai (W)
2D Hannah Gerard-Elia Wilson (ASH) d. Holly Laginess-Chrissy Flynn (SMCC)
3D Heidi Lemon-Sarah Spangler (ASH) d. Amber Laginess-Vinnie Gupta (SMCC)
4D Kendall Lehmann-Teresa Walawender (ASH) d. Sarah Stayman-Courtney McCardel (TCSF)
Thoughts: The target, so to speak, has been on the Gazelles' collective back since they finished runner-up at last year's finals. They were returning 10 of their starters - most in key flights - and surely had the talent to take it up a notch. Greenhills has the best singles lineup, but Sacred Heart has the best doubles players.
There's a bit of pressure on the Gazelles' doubles to perform this weekend. That's where a good chunk of the team's points should come from. They're all seeded #1. Confidence will be key. They are seeded #1 for a reason. They are the best. If Kelsey Nagle, Emily Walsh, Hannah Gerard, Elia Wilson, Heidi Lemon, Sarah Spangler, Kendall Lehmann and Teresa Walawender all play to their abilities, Sacred Heart wins.
Notre Dame Prep scored seven points at last year's finals. This year, the Irish had a couple good draws and could score multiple points at a number of flights. It's unfortunate senior No. 1 Lisa Savagian is in Kasey Gardiner's quarter of the bracket, but her early draw is favorable and she could win a couple matches before seeing Gardiner.
Follow me on Twitter @MIPrepZone as I'll be trying to tweet on Saturday. And go to MIPrepZone's tennis home page for all of our tennis coverage from this year - as well as after Saturday's finals.