Boys tennis / State tournament scouting
When: Thursday (starting at 10 a.m.) through Saturday.
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Where: Hosted by Hersey; first two days of play at all Mid-Suburban League schools. Saturday's championship rounds are at Hersey, beginning at 9 a.m.
Singles: Martin Joyce (Hinsdale Central, 24-1), Alex Galoustian (New Trier, 18-5), Peter Tarwid (Lake Forest, 18-3), Jeremy Bush (Stevenson, 25-3), Eric Marbach (Waubonsie Valley, 28-0), Conrad Harron (Chicago U-High, 21-1), Toby Ma (Deerfield, 20-7), Kristiyan Trukov (Warren, 32-7). Doubles: Hinsdale Central (Alex Hagermoser-Peter Henegan, 20-1), (Eddie Grabill-Harold Martin, 19-3), Lake Forest (John Zordani-Scott Christian, 23-1), Hinsdale Central (Eddie Grabill-Harold Martin, 19-3)), Oak Park-River Forest (Jeremy Dixon-Graham Lehman, 11-1), Stevenson (Colin Harvey-Andrew Komarov, 15-2), Stevenson( Pawel Jarowski-Josh Lieberman, 21-4), Metamora (Christoph Goettler-Will Koehrsen, 10-0), Morton (Grant Reiman-Trent Reiman, 23-2).
The sophomore from Hinsdale Central, Martin Joyce, was impressive en route to his championship at the Pitchford 32 four weeks ago. Coupled with that result, and victories over top-four players Galoustian, Bush and Tarwid, he was the easy choice as the No. 1 here this weekend. Joyce's only loss of the season was to Middle Tennessee-bound Aaron Jumonville in March at the Deco Turf Championships in Louisville. Galoustian went three sets with the Red Devil standout earlier this month, and has beaten (Tarwid) twice and Bush once (6-4, 6-4). The Patriots four-year standout has been on the upswing ever since stepping into the lineup alongside former state champ Blake Bazarnik, who recently transfered to Illinois, after playing No. 3 at Vanderbilt before his move.
"As a freshman, Jeremy was solid and fast, with a slight frame, but each year, he's gotten so much bigger and stronger, and he's made himself into one of the best (and) has a big-time (heavy) forehand with his game," said Bazarnik, who has been a volunteer assistant during the season.
The Washington University (Mo.)-bound Patriot is on the side of Galoustian, and is on course to play the New Trier junior in the semifinals. Bush's long-time NSC rival Trukov grabbed a well-deserved 5-8 seed and faces his toughest test of the first day, in all likelihood with 17-32 Anthony Arochol (Loyola) in the third round at Rolling Meadows on Thursday.
Opponents offered little resistance for Hagermoser-Henegan all throughout the spring season, except for one. The Pitchford 32 champs had their hands full when meeting their teammates (Grabill-Martin), and after taking the reigning state champs to three sets earlier in the season, the Red Devils' No. 2 team knocked them from the unbeaten ranks last weekend in the sectional final. That victory helped solidify their 3-4 seed, and could put them on a collision course in the finals Saturday afternoon.
There are some who feel Lake Forest (Zordani-Christian) has the best chance to upend both clubs from Hinsdale, while OPRF, with two of its victories against Grabill-Martin, make them capable of making a mess of anyone's bracket.
The 1-2 punch at doubles from Stevenson gives Tom Stanhope's club the opportunity to make a serious run, as each is capable of staying in the championship bracket long into the tournament while adding all important points with each victory.
The Pats No. 2 team (Jaworski-Lieberman) should making it through the first day before likely facing either Glenbrook North (David Zakhodin-Miguel Perez) or Cameron Bagheri-Connor O'Kelly of Lake Forest on Friday. Teammates Harvey-Komarov, flying high after an NSC title run, could see 17-32 Naperville Central (Wesley Lo-Sid Swamy) if all goes well on the opening day of play. "We were hoping for a 3-4 with our No. 1 team, but maybe not playing at the 32 (when Harvey was injured) cost us a little," suggested Stevenson coach Tom Stanhope.
Singles: 9-16 seeds: Vincent Lin (Schaumburg, 18-0), Ben VanDixhorn (Libertyville, 24-8); 17-32 seeds: Benjamin Bush (Stevenson, 15-5), Mack Galvin (Rolling Meadows, 32-5); others: Varun Parekh (Barrington, 18-11), Carson Burke (Prospect, 18-9), Ben Fisch (Prospect, 20-9), Braden Ward (Antioch, 17-9).
Both Trukov and Parekh offer what's good about high school tennis. They're terrific four-year players and team leaders who have fashioned themselves memorable and marvelous careers with a chance to go out on a high note here. Trukov has an opportunity to play all three days, while the Broncos captain get a chance to play his final high school tournament with some time on his home courts.
"We knew when the sectionals were announced that the road had gotten significantly more difficult for (Parekh), but he persevered, made a few adjustments, and it seemed exactly what he needed, and his performance at the Stevenson sectional was easily his best weekend of the year," said Barrington coach John Roncone.
When Parekh qualified in his freshman season, it also marked the highest finish (14th) during his four years for the team at state. Trukov, bound for Marquette next fall, was in the same starting lineup along with his brother (Nikola) who teammed with Paul Schlais to go 3-2 at the tournament.
"It's hard to believe this is Kristiyan's last year with us, and he continues to impress, whether it's during practice or in a match. Just with his leadership alone, it's something we will really miss about him," says his coach, Greg Cohen.
On the other end of the scale, a pair of freshmen (Galvin and Ward) hope to make their presence felt in what each hopes to be the first of many trips to state, following the lead of the Saxons' Vincent Lin, who burst onto the scene in a freshman season where he won over 20 matches.
Doubles: 17-32 seeds: Libertyville (Jeff Springgage-Scott Daluga, 24-7), Conant (Peter Itskovich-Connor Sacks, 20-3), Vernon Hills (Ismail Kadarov-David Drobik, 5-2); others: Warren (Matt Matheny-Samuel Gudeman, 10-5), Fremd (Eric Pohl-Sudheer Vundru, 15-7), Buffalo Grove (Peter Georgiades-Anton Levitan, 11-9), Maine West (Dominic Budzik-George Stoitzev).
Libertyville got the go-ahead to get back on the court after the Springgate, a senior, suffered an injury during the semifinals. The Wildcats duo hopes to fashion a solid effort while here, beginning Thursday at Fremd.
"Jack has been a great partner for me as a freshman, he has so much experience, and he's made it easier for me in my first year with the varsity," said Daluga. The Cats are 2 victories away from playing the No. 1 seed Thursday.
When the Conant team (Itskovich-Sacks) earned a second-place medal last weekend at the Glenbrook North sectional, it marked the second straight appearance for both (with Itskovich at singles last year) and the fourth straight for the program.
"It's a terrific accomplishment for those guys, and Conant tennis, and we're very proud of that," said Conant coach Amar Patel, who will be at their side on the Cougars' courts today when play begins. A first-round victory puts them against Matheny-Gudeman of Warren.
The Budzic-Stoitzev team became the first pair to advance since 2003, when the Warriors sent Amit Khatri-Matt Moser through, as well as the sophomore Paul Oehrlein, under then head coach John Hauenstein, who is now Derrick Swistak's assistant.
After its flawless run at the Pitchford 32, where reigning state champ Hinsdale Central all but clinched the team title on the first day of play, the Red Devils come into this tournament as such a heavy favorite that second place is the realistic spot up for grabs for NSC powers Stevenson and Lake Forest, with New Trier just on the edge of that conversation. "It's Hindale's to lose, then Stevenson, maybe us, but as usual it comes down to how the bracket sets us, and if you can get one or two in the semis," said New Trier coach Tad Eckert. "If you do, it's a team trophy you're walking away with on Saturday afternoon." Adds Stanhope: "We're going to have to play good tennis, but that is what's expected at the tournament if you want a chance at a top-three finish. All of the guys are excited and ready to go, and that tough sectional we just came from kept them on their toes, and sharp."
-- Mike Garofola