Boys tennis: Scouting Lake County

 
By John Phelps
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 3/31/2016 2:43 PM
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  • Stefano Tsorotiotis of Libertyville is back for his junior year as one of the state's top returning singles players.

      Stefano Tsorotiotis of Libertyville is back for his junior year as one of the state's top returning singles players. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

EAST SUBURBAN CATHOLIC

CARMEL

Coach: Chris Kannenberg (third season)

Last season: 11-4-2, Schaumburg invitational champs, second in ESCC, third in Stevenson sectional

Top returning players: Sr. Jason Kappes, Sr. Steven Zemaitis, Sr. Matt Colbert, Jr. Jonathan Paulson, Sr. Jack Morrisey, Sr. Riley Ley, Sr. Jacob Johnson, Sr. Vince Jansen, Sr. Charlie Hauff, Sr. Sr. Tim Harrigan, Sr. Filip Ciesinski, Sr. Jeremy Galang, Jr. Brian Arata, So. Alex Colbert, So. Ben Burkett

Season outlook: The Corsairs will definitely miss the No. 1 doubles team of graduated Kevin Hunt and Michael Butler, who finished 12th at the state meet last spring. But there are many able-bodied players to help keep the Corsairs in the ESCC hunt. Carmel has experience with 11 seniors on its roster, including No. 1 singles player Jason Kappes and Jonathan Paulson. Matt Colbert and Steven Zemaitis return to anchor the doubles contingent. "We're looking to match and improve on what we did last year," coach Chris Kannenberg said.

NORTH SUBURBAN PRAIRIE

ANTIOCH

Coach: Jamie D'Andrea (second season)

Last season: 8-5, 4-2 in NSC Prairie, won Spirit of the Northwest tournament, fourth in Antioch sectional

Top returning players: Sr. Braden Ward, Jr. Brandon Sorensen, So. Kyle Boudreau

Notable additions: Sr. Nathan Borries, Jr. Jack Connelly, Fr. Will Vesser

Season outlook: In its final season competing in the North Suburban Conference, the Sequoits and coach Jamie D'Andrea would like nothing more than to go out champs of the Prairie Division. Chances are looking good at doing that, especially with the return of No. 1 singles player and three-time state qualifier Braden Ward and No. 2 singles Kyle Boudreau. "Our singles will be very strong and we have several other players who have committed to improving in the off-season, which will make our two top doubles teams very competitive," D'Andrea said. Brandon Sorensen leads a solid doubles core, while freshman Will Vesser looks to make an immediate impact. Not counting Vesser, Antioch will benefit from the services of two other new additions in Nathan Borries and Jack Connelly. "We have gained two strong and intelligent players, and even though they are new to tennis, they have improved immensely since picking up their rackets last week," D'Andrea said.

GRANT

Coach: Curt Sheets (second season)

Last season: 7-10, 2-4 in NSC Prairie, tie for ninth in Antioch sectional

Top returning players: Sr. Matt Menke, Sr. Kyle Wojslaw, Sr. Zach Wisniewski, Jr. Steven Palacios, So. Chris Cooper

Notable additions: Sr. Richard Von Helms, Jr. J.P. Vanoverbeke, So. Azam Syed, So. Evan Viscioni

Season outlook: Consistency is the key for the Bulldogs this spring. "That's how we plan on improving on our conference and overall records is by being much more consistent," coach Curt Sheets said. It doesn't look to be an issue with returning singles players Matt Menke and Steven Palacios. The doubles lineup is bolstered as well with the returns of Chris Cooper at No. 1, Zach Wisniewski at No. 2 and Kyle Wojslaw at No. 3. "The (players) are much more confident in their swings and have worked diligently in the off-season," Sheets said. Richard Von Helms, Azam Syed, Evan Viscioni and J.P. Vanoverbeke are welcomed additions ready to make an impact as well.

LAKES

Coach: Bryan Plinske (11th season)

Last season: 5-7, 3-3 NSC Prairie, seventh in Niles West invitational, ninth in NSC meet, tie for fifth in Antioch sectional

Top returning players: Sr. Kevin Thacker, Sr. Cameron Bradford, Sr. Dallan Forbes, Sr. Danny Beller, Jr. Sam Stoy

Notable additions: Jr. Yue Lee, Jr. Jarad Smith

Season outlook: With a solid and large group of seniors, there is an atmosphere and sense of purpose for the Eagles this spring. "We're focusing on maximizing our time on the court because we'd like to have the seniors finish their careers on the winning side," coach Bryan Plinske said. "Everything should be done well and for a specific purpose. Every position needs to play to their ability." Plinske said the lineup isn't set just yet but Kevin Thacker and Sam Stoy lead the singles charge, while Cameron Bradford, Dallan Forbes and Danny Beller look to solidify doubles.

ROUND LAKE

Coach: Atom Davis (sixth season)

Last season: tie for fifth in Antioch sectional

Top returning players: Sr. Alex Tobias

Notable additions: Fr. John Brown.

Season outlook: No. 1 singles player Alex Tobias was 17-7 last spring, and coach Atom Davis is looking for him to have another great year. The Panthers welcome a dozen new freshmen to the program, led by John Brown, who Davis said should have an immediate impact. "We look forward to improving greatly from last season when we had only 4 wins," the coach said. "Our hope is to double that this year. We have a lot of new faces, but a majority of our team are seniors. I feel confident that some improvements will definitely take place."

VERNON HILLS

Coach: Doug Gerber (15th season)

Last season: 8-10-2, 6-3 in NSC Prairie (first place), eighth in Stevenson sectional

Key losses: Daniel Lebovitz, David Levering

Top returning players: Sr. Zach Kurzenberger, Sr. Fin Lau, Jr. Ankit Agrawal, Jr. Cole Guillaume, Jr. Aakash Setty, So. Nikhil Mangtani, So. Harsha Namburi, So. Matt Nguyen, So. Anmol Parande, Sr. Nick Brassfield, Sr. Alec Munro, So. Andre Shor

Season outlook: The Cougars have experience on their side, having lost only three players from last year's NSC Prairie championship squad. Fin Lau and Matt Nguyen will lead the singles charge after they played Nos. 1 and 2 last spring. Doubles is in good hands with most players returning, but Gerber stressed that finding the right tandems will be the top priority this spring. "Competition will once again be tight in the Prairie Division and we look to repeat as Prairie champs," Gerber said.

WAUCONDA

Coach: Ryan Whitfield (first season)

Last season: 8-3 overall, 5-1 NSC Prairie, fifth in NSC tournament, tie for sixth in Stevenson sectional

Top returning players: Sr. Oliver Gallego, Sr. Isiah Galve, Sr. Tyrone Pasajol, Jr. Connor Splingaire, So. Brian Hackman, Sr. Jake Ribich, Sr. Connor Latham, Jr. Andrew Lu, Jr. Ben Brannick, Jr. Josh Nguyen, Fr. Dev Patel

Season outlook: The Bulldogs' lineup features a solid mix of returning players along with talented newcomers. Brian Hackman and Oliver Gallego are the top returning singles players and poised to make a run in the state series after missing out last spring, and Ben Brannick looks solid at No. 3 singles. First-year coach Ryan Whitfield said Connor Splingaire and Dev Patel will be paired at No. 1 doubles. "Dev has been impressive in practice as a freshman," the coach said. "He has exceeded my expectations with his maturity and calm demeanor." In the early stages of the season, Isiah Galve and Andrew Lu will play No. 2 doubles, Josh Nguyen and Jake Ribich will be at No. 3 doubles, and fourth doubles will be occupied by Connor Latham and Tyrone Pasajol. "The rest of the lineup will battle for positions, and we'll look for the right combinations at the beginning of the season," Whitfield said. "We have a lot of depth this year with 40 players in the program. We hope to compete for the top spot in the NSC Prairie in our last season in the conference."

NORTH SUBURBAN LAKE

LAKE ZURICH

Coach: Aaron Rogers (fifth season)

Last season: 9-7, 3-4 in NSC Prairie, fifth in NSC meet, fourth in Stevenson sectional

Top returning players: Sr. Joaquin Ganoza, Sr. Chris Yun, Jr. Roberto Guagnelli, Jr. Ryan Kim, Jr. Alvin Pham, Jr. Noah Sung

Notable additions: Jr. Jim Weimer, Fr. Adrian Ganoza

Season outlook: Lake Zurich graduated five starters, including Kevin Kim, who was third in the NSC meet at No. 2 singles, and Mike Ewan, who was strong at No. 1 doubles. But the Bears feature a solid core with six returning players. No. 1 singles player Roberto Guagnelli is back for his junior season and will most likely see most of his time at that position, but coach Aaaron Rogers hasn't ruled him out as a potential doubles partner with Joaquin Ganoza, who played No. 1 doubles most of last year. "The team has been working hard in the off-season and at the start of the spring to accomplish their goal of having a state qualifier this year," said Rogers, who noted the school's last state qualifier was Grant Thompson in 2011. "We'll have some uncertainty at the bottom of the lineup, which will be extremely important in order for us to pull out some of the close matches."

LIBERTYVILLE

Coach: Dan Kiernan (15th season)

Last season: 8-4, 5-2 in NSC Lake, third in NSC meet, second in Stevenson sectional, tie for sixth at state

Top returning players: Sr. Julian Janczak, Jr. Stefano Tsorotiotis, Sr. Samuel Clawson, Sr. Jason Daluga, Sr. Peter Daluga, Sr. Scott Daluga, Sr. Robert Neil, Sr. Nihar Phadke, Sr. Brennan Walsh; So. Ken Hermann, So. Jack Higgins, So. John Scott

Key newcomers: Fr. Bert Cao, Fr. Hayden Friese

Season outlook: After tying for sixth at state last spring, the Wildcats look primed to haver another impact season. Coach Dan Kiernan benefits from the return of state qualifiers Stefano Tsorotiotis in singles and Julian Janczak, a returning state qualifier in doubles. "Stefano will be one of the best returning players in the state this year," Kiernan said. "And we have two new freshmen (Bert Cao and Hayden Friese) that will be in our top-six." One of the luxuries for the Wildcats is their versatility in that they can play wherever Kiernan decides to slot them. "We have multiple returning state qualifiers, so the experience is there for us at the top spots," said Kiernan. "My guess is that we will have very similar results this year compared to last."

MUNDELEIN

Coach: Shelley Majewski (first season)

Last season: ninth in Stevenson sectional

Top returning players: Sr. Ian Cornejo, Sr. Ernesto Beltran, Sr. Doug Alberts, Sr. Clark Dumblauskas, Sr. Trevor Fox, Sr. Mihn Le, Sr. Anthony Ko, Jr. Kyle Koeller, Jr. Joseph VanBelleghem, Jr. Dustin Clegg, So. Powell McCarthy, So. Colin Beisterfeld

Notable additions: Sr. Kevin Fung, Jr. Stephan Hatchett, Jr. Max Basso

Season outlook: First-year coach Shelley Majewski inherits a team that features several returning players, including No. 1 singles player Colin Beisterfeld. "He's been working on his game all year and comes back to the team with a new sense of confidence and talent," Majewski said. The doubles candidates include Kyle Koeller, Ian Cornejo, Ernesto Beltran, Doug Alberts, Clark Dumblauskas, Trevor Fox, Mihn Le and Anthony Ko. Majewski noted that singles positions are being contested by Joseph VanBelleghem, Powell McCarthy and Dustin Clegg. The Mustangs also welcome three talented newcomers to varsity in Stephan Hatchett, Max Basso and Kevin Fung. "We're definitely looking forward to some great tennis this spring," said Majewski. "And our new players add to an already talented and dedicated team."

STEVENSON

Coach: Tom Stanhope (sixth season)

Last season: 9-4, second in NSC, first in Stevenson sectional, fifth at state

Top returning players: Sr. Ben Bush, Jr. Matt Harvey, Jr. Ben Weisberg

Notable additions: So. Jeremy Park, Fr. Arjun Sheelvanth, Fr. Aswath Viswanathan, Fr. Nicholas Ryding, Fr. Zach Kim

Season outlook: Replacing former state champ and standout Colin Harvey (Michigan State) will be tough. But Stevenson seems to not rebuild but rather reload. Even though six players graduated, coach Tom Stanhope has plenty of optimism with a new crop of underclassmen ready to step in and step up. Ben Weisburg, Ben Bush and Matt Harvey all competed at state last year. "We have lots of new, young players and they want to leave their own mark," said Stanhope, whose team was fifth at the state meet last spring. "Replacing (Colin Harvey's) skills and leadership will be tough, but this is a new era for Stevenson tennis and we're excited to start developing a new identity while still continuing on the tradition of high quality tennis."

WARREN

Coach: Greg Cohen (20th season)

Last season: 8-4, fourth in NSC, second in Antioch sectional, 65th at state

Top returning players: Sr. Scott Seiler, Sr. Nick Skradski, Sr. Daniel Nystrom, Sr. Brandon Reichel, Jr. Jacob Andersen

Notable additions: So. Stefan Radovic

Season outlook: Although the Blue Devils lost four-time state qualifier Samuel Gudeman, they are loaded again with a solid core of seniors to go with newcomers like Stefan Radovic. Daniel Nystrom, Brandon Reichel, Nick Skradski and Scott Seiler have taken the leadership mantel, according to veteran coach Greg Cohen. Seiler went to state last season with doubles partner Gudeman, while Skradski advanced to state in singles. Cohen said juniors Jacob Andersen and Eric Grosskopf had incredible summers. Cohen notes his team features 17 out of 21 varsity players in line for the IHSA academic award for having a 4.0 or higher GPA. "This is going to be a fun year," Cohen said, "with great kids."

FOX VALLEY FOX

GRAYSLAKE CENTRAL

Coach: Chuck Lawson

Last season: champions at Lake Park invitational and Vernon Hills quad, fifth in FVC, third in Antioch sectional

Top returning players: Sr. Tony Kula, Sr. Tyler Barta, Sr. Trevor Netz, Sr. Ben Sizelove, Sr. Tejas Paruthooli, Jr. Jack Brown, Jr. Carson Cerquone, Jr. Vance Dayola, Jr. Omar Khan, Jr. Nishith Sagubadi, Jr. Steven Sohn, Jr. Mario Tovar Jr., Jr. Gurnoor Virdi, Jr. Chase Whetham-Starbird, So. Kyle Judge, So. Jacob Zboril

Season outlook: The Rams opened dual-meet action this week with a 5-2 win over Dundee-Crown. Doubles dominated for Grayslake Central, winning four matches. Veteran coach Chuck Lawson's doubles lineup included Carson Cerquone and Chase Starbird at No. 1.

GRAYSLAKE NORTH

Coach: Jill Tomasello (11th season)

Last season: 8-7 overall, sixth in FVC, champion at Lakes quad, tie for fifth in Antioch sectional

Top returning players: Sr. Joe Kizhakkadthu, Sr. Evan Lopex, Sr. Jack Clancy, Sr. Jake Dameron, So. Matt Pawlowski

Notable additions: Jr. Nick Koziol, Jr. Chris Dudek, Jr. Bryce Boyd

Season outlook: The Knights feature a veteran lineup. Joe Kizhahhadthu will lead the charge at No. 1 singles, while plenty of support comes from Matt Pawlowski at No. 2 singles and Evan Lopex in the third spot. The No. 1 doubles tandem of Jack Clancy and Jake Dameron look to go out with a bang in this their senior year. Coach Jill Tomasello is also excited about several players who have moved up, including Nick Koziol, Chris Dudek and Bryce Boyd. "We're even more excited about the kids who have moved up to help fill a few of those voids," Tomasello said. "We have been working on new combinations and our match lineup, and we are optimistic that we're going to have a really exciting season."

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