With his cool, calm demeanor and 30-plus victories, Mack Galvin has shattered the stereotype of freshmen lacking the proper high school experience to be successful on his sport's biggest stage, the state tournament.
The Rolling Meadows frosh booked his place in today's fourth round championship bracket after an impressive 6-3, 3-6, 7-5 victory over 9-16 seed Brandon Harris (24-7) of Edwardsville. The earned Galvin a spot opposite 3-4 seed Jeremy Bush, a four-time state qualifier from state power Stevenson.
"I was thrilled to find out I got a 17-32 seed, but more importantly, that I would be playing on our home courts, which I know so well. And in in front of my friends and family, I think it gave me a real advantage today," said Galvin, who with his 3 wins improved his record to a dazzling 35-5.
"I didn't really mind the wind and cold today," Galvin said. "We pretty much had this kind of weather for the first three-fourths of the season, and all I wanted to do today was to play simple, be sharp and to put the points away quickly and easily."
Galvin won his first two matches in straight sets, as did Barrington senior Varun Parekh (20-12), who like his young Mid-Suburban League peer had the privilege of playing on his home courts at Barrington in his third and final state tournament.
"I don't know how much more fortunate that I could be when you consider that I was playing my last state tournament on the first place I played, I am truly blessed to be here today," said Parekh, who made a big splash earlier with back-to-back victories before running into 9-16 seed Vincent Lin (21-0), who looks primed for a long run this weekend.
"Vincent is a terrific player, and he was every bit of what we all know of him," said Barrington coach John Roncone.
The Saxons sophomore will meet four-time state qualifier Toby Ma (23-7) of Deerfield in a 9 a.m. Saturday match at tournament host Hersey. Buffalo Grove will welcome all of the doubles competition, also at 9 a.m.
Lin is ranked among the top 30 nationally in the under-16 age division, so his entry into the fourth round came as no surprise to his coach, Jason Campbell
"Vincent has physically gotten bigger and stronger, and he is really fit," Campbell said. "He can now handle the demands of a long match against a big hitter, and along with that, he's added much more pace to his game, which makes him much more dangerous a player compared to last year."
The Saxons' MSL West rivals from Conant, Peter Itskovich/Connor Sacks (22-4) started well on their home courts in Hoffman Estates, winning their first two in straight sets before getting bounced into the backdraw by a potential medalist from Morton, Grant and Trent Reiman (26-2).
"We were very happy and pleased with our 17-32 seed, but a little unlucky to be in the same (bracket) with the Morton team," said Conant coach Amar Patel. "But I would say winning those first two matches helped validate our seed, while winning another two or three on Friday would be our next goal to attain."
After a rough start, the two-time state qualifiers from Fremd, Eric Pohl/Sudheer Vundru, bounced back in style to win three straight to stay alive in today's backdraw. They'll next meet Deerfield's Noah Rosenblatt/Harrison Crist at Palatine.
Peter Georgiades/Anton Levitin (Buffalo Grove, 12-11) managed to get themselves a victory in their first appearance here, but the Bison duo was eliminated one round later in a 7-6 (3), 6-3 to a tandem from Parker High School of Chicago.
After opening with a win at Barrington, Prospect junior Carson Burke dropped his next two matches to see his season end at 19-11. His teammate Ben Fisch, however, is still alive after stringing together 2 wins to finish 3-1 on the day. Next for Fisch is a match with Jack Carney of Joliet West at Rolling Meadows.
Maine West's Dominic Budzik/George Stoitzev delighted followers with a second-round victory but saw their tournament run come to an end following a 6-4, 6-2 defeat to a duo from Belleville East at Fremd.
"I know those guys were a little nervous at the start, and to be truthful, so was I," said Maine West coach Derrick Swistak. "We had too many unforced errors in our first match, which isn't like those guys, but they pulled themselves back up in their second match to beat Marian Catholic to get themselves a win in their first state tournament appearance."
Stoitzev will attend Carthage College (Wis.) next fall with a full academic scholarship, while his teammate Budzik will attend Oakton Community College, where he will continue to play tennis.