Belleville East’s top doubles team of Chase Stumne and Jacob Hamilton dropped two matches at the state tennis tournament Saturday in suburban Chicago and settled for a fourth-place finish.
Stumne and Hamilton lost 6-2, 6-2 to Deerfield’s Chris Casati and Niko Wasilewicz in the morning semifinals, then fell 5-7, 6-2, 6-2 to Highland Park’s David Aizenberg and Max Gordon in the afternoon.
“We didn’t play as good as we had played the day before, but the team we played in the semifinals, there was just no beating them,” Lancers coach Dan Skaer said. “They were just playing at a different level. Then in the third-place match, it was two evenly matched teams. They just played a little better than we did. We didn’t play great.
“But I’m proud of them. They did a great job.”
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Stumne and Hamilton had defeated Aizenberg and Gordon in a hard-fought tournament match in April in Chicago.
“We just didn’t get it done at the right time,” Skaer said. “They just outplayed us the last two sets. They executed better, they served better, returned better. They just raised their game up.”
Hamilton, a senior, said he was satisfied with finishing fourth.
“I’m definitely OK with everything that happened,” he said. “Fourth place is a huge deal. As a freshman, I never thought I would actually be here like this, getting fourth place. It’s pretty pleasing.
“In the semifinal match, we could have played better. But the team was very good and they had hard serves and returned well. They had the better day. In the third-place match, they also had the better day. We tried our hardest; we fought. It just didn’t turn out the way we wanted. But that’s all right.”
All matches Saturday were moved indoors because of heavy rain in Chicagoland, a factor that Skaer said worked against Stumne and Hamilton, who competed at North Shore Racquet Club.
“I think that was a disadvantage for us because the way our kids play is just kind of scrappy and not overpowering,” Skaer said. “When it turns indoors, there’s no conditions, so it’s all power. It’s a very fast-paced, powerful game.
“The team we played in the semis, they had a guy who was probably 6-(foot)-6, 6-8 (Wasilewicz). He could just bomb 120-mph serves at us all day long without wind to affect it. It didn’t help us at all. He was actually the weaker player of the two, but he just had such a huge serve.”
Stumne and Hamilton, seeded in the Nos. 5-8 group, shocked the second-seeded team of Hinsdale Central’s Lope Adelakum and Michael Czlonka in the quarterfinals on Friday, which guaranteed them a top-four finish.