Tennis teams looking to sectionals
While Woodstock High School and Woodstock North High School wrapped up their boys tennis regular seasons with the Fox Valley Conference Tournament May 11 and 12, Marian Central Catholic High School’s regular season was extended a couple days longer when rain postponed the Suburban Christian Conference tournament until May 14.
WHS finished in a 12th-place tie in the FVC tournament with 35 points while Woodstock North finished in 14th place with 24 points. The results of the SCC tournament were not available at press time.
Blue Streaks No. 1 singles player Agustin Araujo faced a tall task, drawing No. 3 overall seed Connor Greenwald from Prairie Ridge High School in the first round. Araujo, a senior, lost 6-2, 6-2, and Greenwald waltzed into the championship match before settling for second place overall. Araujo saw some success in the consolation bracket, managing a ninth-place finish.
“He got a very unlucky draw,” said WHS coach Pablo Pomares. “He was playing in the first round against a top-seeded player.”
Streaks freshman Jack Fischbach also gave Pomares and the WHS program some hope for the future, managing an eighth-place finish at No. 3 singles. Pomares says the program is improving behind young players like Fischbach and returning depth at doubles.
“Knowing that all of my doubles players are juniors, we are not going to lose any doubles players,” Pomares said. “We are going to be strong at doubles next year.”
Woodstock North didn’t enjoy a lot of success as a team, finishing in last place in the FVC tournament, but head coach Mike Buehler was quick to point out some enjoyable wins and positive steps for his young team.
Among the top finishers for the Thunder were the team’s No. 1 singles player, senior Ben Bradley, who took 11th place overall, and senior Zane Moser, who took 12th place at No. 2 singles.
Buehler spoke highly of the effort of his freshman No. 4 doubles pair Jonathon Falk and Alex Julian, who played one of the more entertaining matches of the tournament.
Falk and Julian trailed in the first set before coming back to win. After losing the second set, they were behind again in the third set before rallying to force a tie-breaker. Trailing 5-1 in the tie-breaker, Falk and Julian came back yet again, winning 8-6.
“They got behind and they didn’t panic,” said Buehler. “They just dug in and got a little bit more consistent and just started getting the ball back.”
Next up for all three schools is the sectional tournament at Cary-Grove High School and Crystal Lake South High School.
Pomares plans on going with singles players Araujo and senior Jannik Barthelme, doubles tandems Jimmy Kraft and Kevin Lara, and Gabriel Klinefelter and Ian Ordonez for sectionals. He’s hoping Araujo, who sported a 15-4 regular-season record, is a bit luckier with his sectional draw.
“Agustin has a good chance,” said Pomares. “If he plays his best tennis, he’s got a shot to make it to state.”
Buehler will bring Bradley and junior Ryan Wade at singles, along with doubles pairs Mitch Laabs and Luke Versten, and Jordan Plummer and Kenji Kuroda. Buehler is looking for his players to bring an intelligent and aggressive game to the tournament.
“What I’m hoping for is for them to be just a little bit more consistent,” said Buehler. “What we’re working on is for them to walk that fine line of controlled aggression. Keeping pressure on your opponent but not doing so at the expense of getting shots just wide, just long or into the net.”
Marian Central coach Ginny Larsen will be changing things up for the sectional tournament. Brothers Riley and Aaron Waters, usually singles standouts, will be paired together at doubles. Regular season No. 1 doubles team Will Kaufmann and Andy Yuk will stay at doubles, while No. 2 doubles team Charles Shin and Christian Hughes will split up and play singles at sectionals.
Based on the results of the FVC tournament, Larsen feels her doubles teams have a good chance to go far. The Waters brothers have played at doubles during the regular season with positive results. In fact, neither pair has lost a non-conference doubles match, and they are undefeated at doubles on the season.
Larsen had approached the brothers about playing doubles before the season, but they vetoed the move based on their desire to compete individually. Larsen said that’s no longer the case.
“They’ve come to the conclusion that this would be best for them,” said Larsen. The more they played and they started playing together, they decided this would be a good idea.”