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updated: 4/9/2013 10:21 PM

Lake Park's Sabal, Millikan playing at a new level

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By Neil Shalin
Daily Herald Correspondent

What's different about the Lake Park doubles team of Evan Sabal and Jack Millikan this year is their expectations. Last year's state qualification took them a little by surprise last year, but they settled down in the state tennis tournament and won three matches. This year they're playing with maturity and confidence and taking their game to a whole new level. That was evident Tuesday as Sabal, a senior, and Millikan, a junior, ran their season record to 10-0 and led the Lancers to a 5-2 win over host and Upstate Eight Conference rival Waubonsie Valley with a 6-2, 6-1 win over the fine Warriors doubles team of Mike Cioffi and Alex Tadevich. The Lancers (6-2) swept the four doubles matches. "Today Evan and Jack really came out ready to play," said Lake Park coach Tim Martin. "They move so well, communicated well and mixed things up to beat a very good team. They worked very hard in the off-season to bring their doubles game up a few notches. Our team victory is a testament to their work ethic and their leadership. They're two of our captains and they really set the tone." "We served well, came to the net and got our volleys over," said Millikan, the southpaw in the lefty-right doubles combo. "I think the lefty-right mix confuses our opponents some time. Especially the different spins off our serves." What are some of the other factors that have made the Lancers duo an effective partnership? "We've been playing strong tennis," Sabal said. "We have a good net game and we're good friends. We know each other's moves and we communicate well on the court." Martin is generally pleased with the progress his team has made, in this, the Lancers' final year in the Upstate Eight before moving to the DuPage Valley Conference. "We're improving a lot with every meet," Martin said. "We're not even the same team now that we were two weeks ago. My second doubles, Jason Kwusniak and Matt Solarz, did a great job today winning in straight sets, and our two freshman singles players (Piotr Lada and Josh Solarz) are improving a great deal." Waubonsie Valley (1-2) got its expected win at first singles where senior Eric Marbach, one of the top players in Illinois, won his match 6-0, 6-0. Third-singles Jack Kochman defeated Josh Solarz in three sets. Aside from those bright spots Waubonsie Valley coach Phil Galow was "embarrassed" by his team's performance. "Our guys are just hitting the ball and not knowing what they're doing with it," Galow said. "They practice and practice and practice and then they come out here and get back to bad habits. There wasn't much good about our performance today."

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