Both Conant and Rolling Meadows were unable to solve their court opponents on Saturday -- but Mack Galvin had little trouble with his, as the sophomore went 3-0 on the day in a season-opening tennis quad at Rolling Meadows.
The highest-rated returning player in the Mid-Suburban League beat Gavin McLaughlin (Glenbrook South), Connor Sacks (Conant), and Prairie Ridge senior Ryan Kohl to open what the reigning MSL conference champs hopes to be the build-up of an even better second year for himself and the 2013 East Division champions.
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"I really enjoy playing high school tennis, being a part of a team and competing at this level, and against a lot of very good players, many of whom I see in the USTA during the off-season," said Galvin, who watched his club go 1-2. The Mustangs topped Conant and first-year boys coach Dave Koleno.
"It was good to finally get outside, and play some tennis on what turned out to be the nicest weather day we've had thus far," said Koleno. "Although we lost all three of our matches today, I saw very good things we can build on, and some others we'll need to work on when we get back to practice on Monday."
The Cougars lost their opener 4-3 to Prairie Ridge, then fell by the same score to Meadows before ending their day with a 5-2 loss to Glenbrook South. The Titans swept through with a perfect 3-0 mark.
Galvin, who went 35-7 in his freshman season and earned three victories on the first day of the state tournament last May, is raring to go this year following a productive off-season which included plenty of matches at the Midwest Regionals.
"Things went pretty well for me during the fall, but I had to deal with a little bit of a losing streak after changes rackets and making some changes, and sorting things out," said Galvin. "But that's how you have to learn to improve, by going through some tough times. I really feel like I came out of it OK, and I can't wait to get out there and play a lot of tennis, help our team, and make another run in the state tournament."
Galvin is rated No. 55 in the Midwest by the USTA and looks forward to another run at the best competition from the IHSA.
"Playing for those two days at state was a great experience, and it helped expose me to other types of players and styles and showed me what to work on in order to compete at that level this year," he said.
Galvin needed a tie-breaker win in his first set with Sacks in order to get past the Cougars' four-year standout.
"Connor was looking forward to playing Mack, and I thought he played him very well," said Koleno.
Sacks, who has committed to play at Millikin next fall, enters his final year as a two-time state qualifier at doubles. Last season he teamed with Peter Itskovich for a deep state tourney run.
"I kind of knew I was the last man standing this year after Peter graduated, leaving me without a doubles partner for the first time since coming to Conant," said Sacks, who finished 25-5 with Itskovich, including 4-2 at state. "It's kind of too bad Peter wasn't around one more year, because we had great chemistry, and that's big in doubles. Together, I feel like we could have had a great season this year."
Millikin has not had a men's program since 2003, and the big lefty will be just the second recruiting class in the sport next season.
The Cougars' No. 4 doubles, Khushal Shah and Ryo Ishiwama, were 3-0 on the day. Their teammates at No. 3, George Cornell and Greg Lindquist, finished 2-1.
Prairie Ridge and new coach Jim Benson enjoyed a successful day after opening play in the FVC earlier in the week with a 7-0 win over Crystal Lake Central.
"It was cold, but we got it in nonetheless, but you can imagine how exited we were to get here this morning to find sunshine and fairly mild temperatures," said Benson, who comes over from Jacobs to take charge of the preseason season favorites to repeat as conference champs. "We've got a lot of new faces, but we have a good core back, which includes what I feel is the best combination at doubles in the FVC this season."
Half of that duo is senior Danny VanBosch, who along with partner Jack Lamar won an FVC crown at No. 2 doubles before earning their first trip to the state tournament, joining the No. 1 team of Bijan Heydari and Brad Henning.
"It was a little nerve-wracking to be among so many great players for the first time, but it was a great experience, and one that I know we really help me this year," said VanBosch, who could team with Matt Cox in doubles this season.
The Wolves are at Dundee-Crown this Tuesday, then host Huntley on Thursday, while the host Mustangs begin a very busy week of tennis starting on Tuesday when they welcome Lake Zurich, followed by another visitor two days later in Glenbard East.
Meadows coach Gary Brodnan will see seven more clubs next Saturday in the Mustangs annual Invite, including Palatine, St, Viator, and St. Charles East, which features 2013 singles runner-up Jasper Koenen.
Conant, which added Glenbrook South to its regular-season schedule in advance of seeing the Titans in the sectional, travels to the Wheaton North Quad next Saturday.