It was all Carmel on Saturday at the Schaumburg Tennis Invite.
Dy dominating the finals at both singles and doubles, the Corsairs produced a clean sweep to capture the team title by 15.5 points over runner-up Glenbard North (13.5) and an eight-team field.
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Sophomore Brandon Dechter defeated teammate Kevin Hunt in straight sets (7-5, 6-3), while the doubles team of Bryan Hunt and Stephan Feely did the same to teammates Craig Paulson and Mike Butler and to give the East Suburban Catholic Conference favorites the victory on a cold, windy day.
"We've got a real nice team this year, and we should have a very good chance of winning a conference championship at the end of the year -- but after that, things get a little tougher," said Carmel coach Nancy Fehn. "Last year we found ourselves in a loaded sectional at Highland Park, and we were unable to get anyone out despite having strong players at singles and a very good No. 1 doubles team.
"We were moved out of that one -- but sent over to Stevenson, where Libertyville, Lake Zurich, Vernon Hills and others are, so it doesn't get much easier for these boys then."
Hunt, who as a freshman was the ESCC singles champ at No. 2, isn't too concerned about the postseason just yet.
"It's all about taking it one day at a time, then hopefully winning conference, then going after sectionals and a place in the state tournament," said the sophomore, who breezed into the finals before meeting Dechter.
According to Fehn, the Carmel singles players have been extremely competitive in practice, which is a nice problem to have when it come to weekend tournaments.
"I spent a lot of time during the off-season working on my game at the net, and on my fitness, and I was able to do a lot of that work in USTA tournaments, including one in California," said Dechter, third in the ESCC last spring at No. 1 singles.
The sophomore defeated Fenton's No. 1 Freddy Lauric 6-2, 6-3 in the second round before beating Nick Fanlon of McHenry to make the finals.
Lauric and his younger brother Erwin qualified into the state tournament last season at doubles. But on this day, Erwin, a soph, was paired with Daniel Franchi at No. 1 doubles.
Freddy, a senior, finished fourth overall, after a 6-1, 6-4 loss to Matt Krzyzaniak of Glenbard North.
Another state qualifier from a year ago, Brad Spangenberg of Dundee-Crown, is now the Chargers' No. 1 at singles, after his former partner, Eric Martin, left for college.
"Right now we just don't have a player on par with Brad to form a solid doubles team, so he'll be our top guy at singles for the season unless something changes before then," said D-C coach Harlan Miller.
Krzyzaniak, a senior who went 1-2 in his first trip downstate last May, dropped a straight-set match to Hunt in the semis, then bounced back to earn a third-place trophy following his defeat of Lauric.
"Matt has been playing very well at the start of the season, despite the cold weather, and he's worked hard to get himself at a higher level, and more prepared for the postseason, and hopefully a very good run in the state tournament," said Panthers coach Doug Clark, whose squad opened at 0-2 before earning 5-2 victories over Fenton and West Aurora.
"Nobody likes to play in these types of conditions, especially me -- the hotter, the better," said Krzyzaniak, who finished 30-8 last season and will attend Illinois next fall and compete on the club team there. "But it is what it is, and for me it's all part of having a better mental frame of mind with playing in this weather, and, more importantly, highly ranked opponents."
The Panthers senior cites his initial experience last spring at the state tournament, when after an easy first-round victory, he faced No. 3 Martin Joyce of Hinsdale Central and found himself in the backdraw after a straight-set loss.
"I didn't handle it well, I'll be the first to admit it," Krzyzaniak said. "I was getting upset, and I know that affected the way I played, and the fact was, Joyce was so much better than me.
"So during the off-season, I worked on staying composed and playing within myself, and I found that I could compete at a higher level in doing so. And when I saw others react the way I did against Joyce, it was a good lesson for me."
The host Saxons were missing one of the top players in the area in sophomore Vincent Lin, who is on his way home after playing at the prestigious Easter Bowl, where he won 3 times at singles, and another 2 at doubles.
Although the 2012 state qualifier was away, his teammates Taka Higuchi and Dillon Early will have some good news to share when he gets back.
The Saxons No. 1 doubles team came back after a tough 6-0, 7-5 loss to Carmel's No. 2 in the semifinals to defeat Pat Stanek and Jake Maher of McHenry in the third-place match.
"Those two are meant to be doubles partners," said Schaumburg coach Jason Campbell. "They get along so well on and off the court, and they eat, drink and sleep tennis. They are very coachable, and each has improved with every time out."
The dynamic duo recently won the Niles West Invite, and entered their semifinal with Carmel with a record of 6-0, until the Corsairs ended their unbeaten string.
"This was their first really tough doubles opponent, and they played well at times, but gave away some points, and didn't finish others that they should have," Campbell said. "We'll get to work on that, and I am sure they will work to improve on those things and the rest of their game, just as they have all along."
Maine South Invitational: Freshman Mack Galvin went 3-0 at first singles, topping Jonathan Elsey of York 6-3, 6-2 in the championship match to complete a run of straight-sets victories.
That helped Meadows take fourth place in the eight-team field. York won, followed by Loyola and Jacobs.
Other contributions for the Mustangs came from:
• Marvin Lopez, fifth at second singles.
• Tom Ciemniak/Brian Martini fourth at first doubles.
• Aidan Dolik/Tejo Nutalapati fourth and second doubles.
• Pat O'Neill/Prithvi Ramesh third and third doubles.
Huskie/Knight Invite: Barrington got first-place efforts and second, third and fourth doubles to earn a second-place finish in tournament action at Prospect.
Barrington finished with 51 points, behind champion Oak Park-River Forest and well ahead of third-place Warren (37).
Prospect finished seventh and Hersey eighth.