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updated: 5/10/2014 10:07 PM

Depth pays off for Hinsdale Central

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By Jacob Onak
Daily Herald Correspondent

Hinsdale Central showed its depth, winning the Naper Valley boys tennis Invitational Saturday without its top two players.

The Red Devils placed first out of 16 teams with 86 points. Edwardsville came in second with 70 points. Oak Park-River Forest came in third, Loyola Academy in fourth and Downers Grove South placed fifth with 43 points.

Hinsdale Central was represented in each of the final matches, winning singles and taking No. 2 and No. 3 doubles.

"We didn't have our captains, Martin Joyce and Chase Hamilton," Red Devils coach John Naisbitt said. "It just gave us a chance to see what we're made when we have our two captains, two of our real studs out. … We have a deep team, a really good team, a team that comes to play even without their captains, and it just showed how deep and focused and motivated we are as a team."

At No. 1 singles Hinsdale Central junior Eddie Grabill beat out Edwardsville's Brandon Harris 6-4, 6-2. Harris was coming off a victory over Downers Grove South's Christian San Andres that lasted three hours, 40 minutes, the longest match of the day by far.

"I definitely knew he was feeling tired because he came off a really long match," Grabill said. "I just basically said to play my own game, try to win some points. I guess just get him more tired and make him beat me."

With two of his top guys out of the lineup, Naisbitt put junior Lope Adelakun -- who normally plays doubles -- into the No. 2 singles slot. The move paid off for the Red Devils when Adelakun defeated Edwardsville's Erik Weiler 7-5, 6-4.

"First set was rough I was down at break and then I started to adjust to his game…," Adelakun said. "Just (adjust to) longer rallies. Understanding that he's pretty aggressive so if I wait it out, he'll definitely go for something after a couple shots. So I just needed to take my time."

The pairing of Nick Calzolano and Danny Holland showed some grit for Hinsdale Central, battling back from a first-set loss in their final match to defeat Oak Park's Joe Gullo and Jack Richards 3-6, 6-3, 6-1.

At No. 3 doubles Adam Bloyd and AJ Kornak defeated Edwardsville's Joe Mezo and Kyle Carlson 6-4, 6-2 for yet another Red Devils first-place finish.

Downers Grove South had a couple standouts along with San Andres, who was too exhausted to compete in the third-place match, finishing in fourth place.

"I thought second doubles was stellar," Downers Grove South coach Peter Freischlag said. "Lawrence (Hiquiana) and Mitch (Plys) beating Edwardsville (for third), we haven't beat Edwardsville at that position at two doubles this year so that was a great performance.

"And what do you say about Christian? A four-hour battle and he's not feeling well so he gutted through that third set not feeling 100 percent. That's a good sign for a young sophomore … a lot of heart out there."

Naperville North took sixth with 33 points while host Benet took sixth with 31 points. Wheaton Warrenville South finished in 10th place, Metea Valley in 11th, and Waubonsie Valley ended tied with Wheaton Academy for 13th place.

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