For weeks, Barrington has been building toward the Mid-Suburban League tournament, knowing its talent and depth might be the difference in the final tally.
And Saturday afternoon, the Broncos were a ferocious bunch at doubles and used command performances from Zach Hennenfent and Mohammed Walji at Nos. 2 and 3 singles to run away from the field for a second consecutive league title at Schaumburg.
The Broncos outscored Buffalo Grove 57-45 to win it, with Fremd (34), MSL East champ Prospect (31) and Rolling Meadows (30) rounding out the first five in the touranment standings.
"It was a very good day for Barrington tennis, and, of course, I am proud of the way the guys competed over the two days to help us earn a conference championship," said Broncos coach John Roncone. "With a junior-dominated roster, the hope is the experience we gained during the regular season, this weekend and next at sectionals will go a long way toward this program having an even more successful year next spring."
The start of the Broncos' avalanche began at the Hoffman Estates venue, where Hennenfent (17-12) defeated Alex Yoo (Prospect, 16-11). Then Barrington's No. 2 Matt Mulligan-Vijay Tripuraneni who ran their record to 21-8 with a 6-0, 6-2 victory over Ryan Cecala/Ryan Weiler of Prospect.
Before those key team-standings matches, perhaps the best match of the day took place in the early morning as singles top seed Mack Galvin of Rolling Meadows met No. 5 Alan Fijalkowski of Buffalo Grove in the semifinals.
Galvin, a sophomore who came in as the defending champ, admitted afterward he was fighting for his tennis life in the third and deciding set. But he fired back from a 5-3 deficit to upend the power-hitting Bison star in the tiebreaker to advance, and Galvin went on to defeat Connor Sacks (18-4) of Conant for a repeat MSL crown.
"What a different match than our previous one," said a relieved but exhausted Galvin (31-3), who likely will earn the No. 2 seed behind freshman phenon Mark Wu of Glenbrook North in next weekend's Glenbrook South sectional. "Alan played great. He was so consistent, had a high percentage of success on his first serve, and he hit some amazing back-hand winners to make me a little nervous in that third set."
Galvin stayed composed when Fijalkowski took a 5-3 third-set lead, and maintained an even keel when it became 4-5, and 5-6. Finally Galvin forced a tiebreaker and prevailed at 7-2.
"I thought I was going to win when it was 5-3," said Fijalkowski, whose been in this country just 18 months after leaving his native Poland and went on to a fifth-place finish. "But maybe I relaxed a little bit too much. And when I did, Mack came back to win the match."
Buffalo Grove's No. 1 doubles, Peter Georgiades/Anton Levitin (24-3), were silky smooth on their way to winning the title over Scott Apmann/Dean Carlson (14-6) of Barrington.
"The goal of those guys has been to win a MSL championship, and it's because of them, not me, that they have reached their first goal -- with the second a trip to the state tournament up next," said first-year BG coach Michael Naughton.
The 2013 state qualifiers played classic doubles as they rolled through the top half of their bracket, then quickly went ahead of the Broncos 6-2 before finishing them off with a 6-3 second-set win.
Both Georgiades and Levitin said it was a great advantage to have been together since the middle of last season. They're hoping for a 3-4 seed in the upcoming Highland Park sectional.
Mulligan and Tripuraneni are hoping their strong showing this weekend and at the Pitchford two weeks ago will increase their chances of a higher seed at the talent-filled Stevenson sectional.
"We've made a lot of progress this year, and coming back to beat Highland Park's No. 2 at the Pitchford, then finishing sixth overall at No. 2 doubles meant a lot to both of us," said Mulligan, who last year pair with Apmann to win the No. 4 doubles title in the MSL tournament.
Sacks remained upbeat despite ending his career in the MSL in second-place to Galvin.
"One goal of mine was to finish (in the top two) here, and I was able to do that," Sacks said. "Bbut there's no shame losing in the final to a great player like Mack."
Sacks now turns his focus towards a third trip to the state tournament. The Millikin-bound four-year standout will decide, along with Cougars coach Dave Koleno, if he'll compete at singles, or at doubles with Matt Meyer before the start of sectionals at Glenbrook South.
Sacks' friend and hitting partner away from the MSL, Fremd's Eric Pohl, fell short of a fourth straight MSL championship ring, after taking home a third-place singles finish behind Galvin and Sacks.
Early in the day, Pohl outlasted Carson Burke of Prospect, 7-6 (6), 6-1, then dropped a straight-set 6-3, 6-2 contest to Galvin before finishing up with a nicely played 6-1, 6-3 victory over Ishaan Jaglan (Barrington), who'd defeated Pohl on two previous occasions.
"It was great to end my career in the MSL with a win over Ishaan, especially after the two (three-set) losses I've had against him this year," said Pohl. "Now it's all about making it to the state tournament for my third time, and if Connor moves over to play doubles, we likely won't have to play each other in a state qualifying match at Glenbrook South. It would tough on both of us, regardless of who gets through, but we'll have to wait and see what eventually happens there."
In doubles, Barrington's Henry Kleist and Tino Chiambas stayed perfect in the league this spring at improved to 15-4 overall after their 6-2, 6-4 win in the championship match over Fremd's Jason Piotrowski/Robert Filipiuk. And the Broncos' Nick Arder/Brian Cooper improved to 15-3 after their title at No. 4 doubles.