Anointed the favorite in Mid-Suburban League boys tennis this spring, defending champion Fremd found out that Buffalo Grove had a dissenting opinion as the Bison surprised coach Matt Duncan's team 4-3 last Thursday.
A week later, the Vikings quickly got back to their winning ways against rival Barrington with an exciting 4-3 dual-meet victory. It came down to the final match of the day, when Eric Pohl outlasted Erik Barns in three sets to bring the Vikings one very large step closer to another MSL West crown.
"That was a shocking loss to Buffalo Grove, and a real stunner for the entire team," Duncan said. "But it was great to see us come back to get an important win at No. 2 dubs, then sweep all three flights at singles and have Eric, who is just a sophomore, be the hero today for us.
"Things didn't go too well for us against Buffalo Grove, and especially for me," said Pohl, "so it felt good to have another chance to help us win against Barrington."
Pohl, along with Nick Makowiecki and Maciej Niemcyzk, helped the Vikings offset another terrific afternoon from the Broncos at doubles.
"It seems like just a few years ago we were dominating at singles with Fremd," said Barrington coach John Roncone. "But the tide has slowly changed, and now they've got our number at singles, and it's been the difference between winning and losing against them."
Barns, who earned first-place honors at No. 2 singles last weekend at the Hersey-Prospect Invite, opened up against Pohl with a 7-6 (3) tiebreaker win in the first set. Pohl slowly got back into the match, breaking Barns in the third set to draw even at 4-4 before a 20-ball rally helped put Pohl go up for good on his way to a 6-4 victory.
"I was almost playing too aggressive, and then I went back to playing simple and just keeping the ball in play," said Pohl. "I think that was the difference."
Pohl's big win became necessary after the visitors finished a successful day at doubles. The Broncos' No. 1 team of George Coll and Varun Parekh were nearly flawless in their 6-2, 6-0 win over Matt Buesling and Mike Artov.
"We're going to be at doubles the rest of the way, and really, after today, we will have plenty of opportunities to show what we can do together at the Hinsdale Central tournament this weekend, and the Pitchford in two weeks," said Parekh.
"The team kind of took a step back at the Benet-Downers Grove tournament a couple of weeks ago," said Coll, "but we've bounced back to play some pretty good tennis, so if we continue to do so we'll have our chances at the MSL tournament at the end of the season."
Erik Rosencrans and Sudeer Vundru stopped the Broncos from a clean sweep at doubles with their 6-4, 7-5 win at No. 2 doubles. But the Barrington teams at Nos. 3 (Thompson-Herzog) and 4 (Lilien-Jaglan) proved too much for the Vikings.
"Another typical nail-biter between us and Barrington," said Makowiecki, who produced a 6-0, 6-0 triumph over Rishi Chatterji. "We've got a deep, talented team, but Buffalo Grove stunned us all. We came back to play some pretty good tennis against Deerfield, Lake Forest and Stevenson last weekend, and I think that helped us get ready for today."
Makowiecki, a senior, will decide between DePauw or Dennison for his college future over the next few days where his new address will be next fall.
"We had our chances, but again, we've seen this same thing happen to us the past couple of seasons," said Roncone. "Credit Matt and his guys for winning the matches that they needed to, and hopefully we'll get another chance at this team and Buffalo Grove later on in the season."