St. Francis coach Rick Huffman said the Spartans' boys tennis team was looking for some tougher competition, and that's exactly what it got from Glenbard West.
The host Hilltoppers took down St. Francis 6-2 on Wednesday despite dropping the No. 1 doubles match. Matt Amburst and Chris Chacko remained undefeated on the season at 8-0 after defeating Glenbard West's Matt Lipnica and Peter Smith 7-6, 2-6, 10-6.
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"I knew Glenbard West would be a strong team," Huffman said. "With the Suburban Christian Conference and the schools that St. Francis (plays), we don't get to see as tough of competition, so it was really a good opportunity for us to see where we compare to some of the bigger schools because we are going to play them in the sectional anyway."
The Hilltoppers took No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3 singles and won No. 2, No. 3 and No. 4 doubles to move to a 4-4 dual-meet record. St. Francis took its second loss of the season and is 3-2.
Glenbard West's Nate Dell continued his strong sophomore campaign with a 6-2, 6-2 win over St. Francis freshman Nick Kovach -- who won the Brother Rice Invite -- in No. 1 singles.
Kovach went after Dell early, but the sophomore calmed down and found his game.
"Nick has a great serve, and it was a little hard to get a rhythm at his serve in the beginning," Dell said. "After a few games where he held, it got a little easier to get back to rhythm because he served in the same place. I served pretty well and it was just his serve that made me a little frustrated today."
In No. 2 doubles a new pairing of Liam Murphy and Mun Kenwood took a 6-3, 6-2 victory for the Hilltoppers against the Spartans' Chris Markelz and Mike Kulisz.
The Glenbard West duo had plenty of fun and worked well together despite Kenwood filling in for Murphy's normal partner, Henry Shorney, who was on a college visit.
The only other point from St. Francis came in the No. 4 singles match, where Joe Wood beat Anthony Nguyen 6-1, 6-2.
"This is nice. They caught us last year so it's nice to get them back this year," said Hilltoppers coach Jim Valleskey. "We had a tough loss at Downers Grove (North) last night so it's nice to see the guys bounce back. It's helpful to look at another sectional team and see how we're stacked up against them. They have a real nice No. 1 doubles team and that will be a real competitive spot when we get to sectionals."