Boys tennis: State tournament scouting, Northwest and Lake County

 
By Mike Garofola
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 5/25/2016 8:01 PM
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  • Barrington freshman Dylan Er is among the singles players in the boys tennis state tournament, which begins Thursday at various sites in the Mid-Suburban League.

      Barrington freshman Dylan Er is among the singles players in the boys tennis state tournament, which begins Thursday at various sites in the Mid-Suburban League. Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

  • Rolling Meadows senior Mack Galvin has earned a 3-4 singles seed in the boys tennis state tournament.

      Rolling Meadows senior Mack Galvin has earned a 3-4 singles seed in the boys tennis state tournament. Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

Boys tennis: State tournament scouting, Northwest

When: Thursday through Saturday

Host: Hersey High School; first two days at all Mid-Suburban League tennis venues; Saturday championship rounds at Hersey beginning at 9 a.m.

Defending champion: Hinsdale Central.

Top singles seeds: Vuk Budic (Deerfield, 24-0), Brandon Ancona (Rockford Christian, 26-0), Mack Galvin (Rolling Meadows, 34-0), Brett Meyers (Neuqua Valley, 27-1), Scott Bickel (New Trier, 13-5), Mark Wu (Glenbrook North, 14-2), Victor Spolidorio (Dunlap, 37-1), Jacob Edelchik (Highland Park, 22-5).

Top doubles seeds: Deerfield (Chris Casati/Niko Wasilewicz, 20-1), Hinsdale Central (Michael Czlonka/Nick Calzolano, 9-1), Edwardsville (Zach Trimpe/Alex Gray, 31-5), Highland Park (David Aizenberg, 5-3), Glenbrook North (Austin Klapman/Nick Marino, 20-5), New Trier (Jeffrey Chen/Michael Kusznerko, 5-1), New Trier (Ricky Mayer/Wyatt Mayer, 17-4), Peoria Richwoods (Kiran Patel/O'Connor-Zach Settlemeyer), 23-3).

Local flavor3-4 seed Mack Galvin (Sr, Rolling Meadows): When Galvin walked into his club two days ago for a final tuneup, he knew something was up when he saw his mother, Mustangs coach Gary Brodnan and his club coach all standing together and flashing grins. "I immediately figured I had gotten a 3-4 seed, and suddenly, all was great in the tennis world for me," said the four-time state qualifier, who as a freshman started earned a 17-32 seed. "This is what you work for, and I feel like all of the extra training and extra time that I've put in has put me there. But now, after celebrating for a little while that 3-4 seed, it's all about turning my attention and focus toward that first day of the tournament, and nothing else." The four-time MSL champ will have plenty from the conference cheering his progress.

"Mack carries himself so well and with a lot of class, and right now, when you think about MSL tennis, he's the guy who represents all of us so very well each and every time out," said Barrington coach John Roncone.

Galvin will open play on his home courts against Nikhil Thope of Champaign Central, and if all goes according to plan, will be able to avoid some of the steamy conditions in the forecast for day No. 1.

"I've played here in freezing conditions, and on the flipside, brutally warm and humid conditions as well," Galvin said on Tuesday, "so tonight I've already begun to hydrate to help keep away leg cramps, which I've experienced before and can quickly make your life miserable or end your time in the front draw."

Three victories for Galvin on Thursday would set up a potential Friday morning match with the big-hitting 5-8 seed Victor Spolidorio (Dunlap), and then perhaps a rematch with another 5-6, Jacob Edelchik (Highland Park). Galvin won a previous matchup with Edelchik at the 32.

"I can't get too far ahead of myself looking at potential matches on Friday, but should I get to Jacob, it would great to play him again," Galvin said. "He's a great guy and great player, but that's for much later in this tournament.

17-32 seed Zach Kim (Stevenson, 22-7): The NSC champion says when he came back to beat four-time state qualifier Scott Bickel (New Trier) two weeks ago at the Deerfield Invite is when the light went on and he realized he could beat even elite players. "My goal was to just make the team first," said Kim, a freshman, "and when I did and when I was named our No. 1, the adjustment was made so much easier for me because of the support from my coaches, and especially my teammates, who are all so amazing." Kim beat Lake Forest's Will Zordani for the league crown to avenge an earlier defeat. Kim opens against Bradley Rozario (Normal Community) and is 2 wins away from meeting 5-6 Victor Spolidorio of Dunlap in a third-round contest at Rolling Meadows.

Kyle Boudreau (Antioch, 21-4): The Seqouits sophomore earned his first state appearance following a second-place sectional finish behind his teammate Braden Ward. But coach Jamie D'Andrea says her No. 2 was on the fast track to the tournament last season. "Kyle was a strong player as a freshman, but he improved immensely between last season and this year when he grew taller and stronger, an his technique became more fluid and powerful," she said. Boudreau earned top honors at No. 2 singles at the Spirit of Northwest Tournament early on and later finished third overall in the NSC tournament. State opener vs. Ryan Roegner (Naperville Central).

Bert Cao (Libertyville, 19-9): Dan Kiernan knew of his incoming freshman long before he arrived on campus, but the coach never imagined he would become the 'Cats No. 1 so soon. "I used to see him play when he was younger, and at that time you wonder where he would fit on our varsity roster, if at all during his first year of high school," said Kiernan. "But with Stefano (Tsorotiotis) gone, he was the guy we turned to, and the confidence he gained from his play in the USTA has helped him tremendously at the high school level." Since taking over on May 1, Cao has gone 9-4, including two wins last Friday at sectionals to qualify. State opener vs. Adam Hanson (Bloomington).

Dylan Er (Barrington, 19-13): Broncos fans got a glimpse of what's ahead when this terrific freshman turned up his play during the final two weeks of the season to earn a spot in the 64-man field after a wonderful two-day performance at the Stevenson sectional. He becomes the third singles player in the last four years to advance for coach John Roncone. "Dylan is a fantastic young player and person as well," says Roncone. "He is a strong student who is also bilingual, and he's a young man who has played the game since he was four years old who also enjoys a variety of interests. All of us associated with Barrington tennis have been impressed with his passion and commitment to the game." The rigors of playing at No. 1 have not appeared to slow the Broncos rookie, who looked as sharp as ever in sectional play, particularly during his third-place match victory. State opener vs.Vera Iyer (Conant).

Brian Hackman (Wauconda, 30-4): There have been plenty of firsts for this Bullodgs sophomore, who earned the first-ever state appearance in program history with a stunning 30-win season, plus a spot in the sectional final against his NSC rival Zach Kim last weekend at Stevenson. "Brian's success thus far this season not only validates him as a player, but maybe more importanly does so much for the growth of our overall program," said coach Ryan Whitfield. "And on the court, if he continues to work hard and improve, as he did from last year to this year, he will have an exciting career for himself while helping bring Wauconda tennis into the spotlight a little more." State opener vs. Jonathan Kutsasov (Chicago U-High).

Vera Iyer (Conant, 14-6): Dave Koleno calls this fantastic freshman the human backboard, and when you watch the Cougars top player you can see why. "He just hits everything back, and he'll do it for as long as he needs to -- he just is so good at keeping the ball in play." Iyer had to deal with a case of cramps with both legs during the MSL tournament, which he says is now past him. "I'm confident with my style of play, and if I just go out there and play my game, then I can compete with just about any opponent that I will meet," said Iyer. State opener vs. Dylan Er (Barrington).

Kizuno Matsuno (Fremd, 20-7): The Vikings' No. 1 heads a magnificent batch of rookie singles players in the MSL by combining a wonderfully balanced game with the ability to maintain composure way beyond his years. "We knew he had the talent and tools to be a very good player in the league and around the area -- what I didn't know was how mature he was, and how much of a leader he would be as a freshman," said Vikings coach Matt Duncan. "He's the guy who we will build our program around these next few years, and he's embraced that responsibility and has shown he's ready to take on that role in so many ways. Matsuno's state opener is Stephen Ferkol (Peoria Christian).

Daniel Nystrom (Warren, 23-17): The Iowa-bound Blue Devils senior finished third at sectionals to advance to his first state tournament, and his coach could not have been more proud of him this season. "Daniel started playing with a free lesson during the fall of his eighth grade year, and we liked him so much that we immediately worked him into a new camp, and eventually our junior excellence program (that spring), and his hard work would finally pay off when he qualified for state," said coach Greg Cohen. State opener vs. Zach Elliot (Hinsdale Central).

Ruben Ortiz (Round Lake, 11-5): The Panthers junior did not even want to play tennis this spring, but coach Atom Davis put the squeeze on his top player until he relented, and now all parties are glad that he did. "His No. 1 love is soccer, and will always be that -- but his passion and energy keep all of us on our toes, and we're glad he's with us," says Davis. Ortiz combines his tremendous speed and quickness around a skill set which includes defense. His ability to track down nearly every ball, Davis believes, often makes the difference between winning and losing. State opener vs.Kailash Panchapakesan (Jacobs).

Braden Ward (Antioch, 22-3): The face of Antioch tennis over a wonderful four-year career, the LaSalle University-bound Ward arrives at his fourth straight tournament with a sectional crown on his resume, plus a richly deserved 17-32 seed. That brought this response from coach Jamie D'Andrea. "Braden has been the cornerstone of our tennis program, and every single player in our program has benefited from warming up with him, watching him play, and taking on his form, power and style of play. His contributions to our teams over the years cannot be quantified, but everyone associated with Antioch tennis is excited to see what the next chapter of his tennis career will bring." State opener is Chase Bremner (Wheaton North).

Doubles scene9-16 seed Stevenson (Brian Weisberg/Matt Harvey, 25-4): The sectional champs found a winning balance between defense and attack during the final stages of the regular season, capped by a sensational performance at their own sectional to solidify their 9-16 seed, which many thought might be a 5-8. "Those two are playing their best tennis right now, so, for them, anything is possible this weekend -- so they just have to go out, finish their points, play smart doubles, then see what happens after that," said coach Tom Stanhope.

Harvey, a junior, is no stranger to doubles tennis at the state level, as this is his third consecutive appearance here. The first two were with Adam Maryniuk, with whom Harvey finished 4-2 last spring.

"This is the best time of the season for sure, and for the two of us, I feel like we're finally playing doubles the way I know that we can, and the way (Stanhope) wants us to also," said Harvey.

The Pats' dynamic duo has played all of the top teams and bested nearly all of them, except for the reigning state champions Deerfield. Both Stevenson player feel a thrilling fightback win over 17-32 seed Jacobs (Kendrick and Kerwin Chong) at the 32 was the turning point of their season.

"We were down and nearly out, but somehow we got ourselves back in that match to force a third set, and that's where it all came together for us," said Weisberg, who qualified last season at singles for the first time.

The Patriots, who have gone 12-2 since that faithful match with Jacobs, are on the bottom half of the 64-man field, and will feed into 1-2 seed Hinsdale Central (Czlonka/Calzolano) Thursday morning.

9-16 seed Stevenson (Benjamin Bush/Sam Komis, 22-7): Since bursting on the scene as a freshman and earning a 17-32 seed, Benjamin Bush has continued to rise and shine with each year at Stevenson. He makes his fourth straight state appearance on the final weekend of a sensational career, this time around with partner Sam Komis. "I'm just as excited to playing this weekend at state as I was the first time around, and maybe even more," said Bush, who won six matches during his first two years at singles, then four more last year along with Josh Cheng when the duo handled the No. 2 position for Tom Stanhope. "These two really wanted to play together this spring, and I have to admit, early on I wasn't sure how it would all work out," said Stanhope. "But they have clearly shown they belong together and are quite capable of playing some really great tennis, and against high level competition as well." The NSC's No. 2 champs open against Reed Christensen/Thomas Schieffer from Minooka and are on a collision course with 5-8 seed New Trier in Friday's round of 16.

17-32 seed Warren (Scott Seiler/Nick Skradski, 27-9): These two long-time veterans qualified to state separately last year, Seiler with then-partner Scott Seiler and Skradski at singles. "Both of these guys are first just great kids, everything else is just a bonus, and what they have done as tennis players has been just terrific," said coach Greg Cohen. Seiler, who is on his way to Oberlin College next fall to continue playing, is a three-time state qualifier and ranks fifth overall in program history with 114 wins, two short of his brother, Eric. Scott Seiler is also a finalist for the prestigious Tom Pitchford Sportsmanship Award, which will announced on the final day of the tournament. Skradski is a baseball player turned tennis player, having made the switch during eighth grade. But the perhaps the influence of his father, Nick, a former state qualifier at Antioch, and his mother, who played her tennis at Warren, finally took hold for Skradski, who is off to Miami of Ohio in the fall. The Blue Devils pair got off to a flying start this season, winning its first seven matches. The two had another spurt of six straight wins before losing twice at the NSC tournament, to Stevenson's Harvey/Weisberg and then Libertyville's Deluga/ Herrmann (in three sets) to set-up a four match sweep at sectionals to solidify their 17-32 seed. State opener vs. Julien Bendelac/Ayaan Asthana (Chicago University).

17-32 seed Libertyville (Scott Deluga/Kenny Herrmann, 14-11): The near three-year wait for Deluga to return to the state tournament was well worth the wait for the Wildcats senior, who as a freshman partnered with Jack Springgate, earned a 17-32 seeds and went all the way to the sixth round of consolations before being eliminated. "All you have to do is get into the tournament, and anything can happen," Daluga said last Saturday after he and Herrmann beat their own teammates for a third-place trophy at sectionals. "I'm excited and can't wait for Thursday to come," said Herrmann, a junior, who combines with his partner to comprise a strong and physical team which can put away points. State opener vs. Matthew Kastritis/Kyle Burton (Jacobs).

Libertyville (Julian Janczak/Hayden Friese, 18-9): Dan Kiernan admits he wasn't sure what he was getting when he put 2015 state qualifier Janczak together with the Friese, a freshman. But the move worked, giving the Wildcats two qualifiers at doubles when Janczak/Friese secured their spot with a marathon three-set victory over MSL champion Barrington at the Stevenson sectional. "The skills were there, but you never know what the relationship will be with between a senior and freshman, which is sometimes more important then the actual level of talent both players have," said Kiernan. "But in the end, these guys were a natural fit together. For Julian, I'm very happy for him since he's a senior -- now we'll see how things go for them." Janczak went 3-2 last year with partner Michael Gasick. State opener vs. Patrick Halpin-Andrew Sullivan (Loyola).

Warren (Braden Reichel/Stefan Radovic, 27-10): Coach Greg Cohen calls his two at No. 2 doubles great stories in advance of their first-ever appearance at state. "Brandon just started playing tennis seriously in the spring of his sophomore year after baseball didn't work out for him, and his work rate made him one of our most improved players. He's a tough competitor, who refuses to give up on any point, or match," said Cohen of the Iowa-State bound Reichel. Radovic, a soph, is one of the top hockey players at the school and is a member of Warren's band to go along with an impressive 4.20 GPA and 39 varsity wins during his first two seasons with the big club. State opener vs. Brandon Kim/Hsing Hao Louh (Hononegah).

Antioch (Jordan Keller/Brandon Sorensen, 13-12): Yet another player from the area whose love of soccer nearly kept him away from the tennis courts, while his partner needed coaxing from coach Jamie D'Andrea to play doubles. Yet it turned out to be another success story at Antioch this spring. "Jordan is a soccer player who almost didn't come out for our team, and Brandon, a singles player, needed me to twist his arm in order to get him to play doubles. Once together, however, they became our No. 1 team, and I couldn't be happier for them, and with their results," said D'Andrea of her first-time state qualifiers. "They obviously do not have the best overall record, but they earned their place in the state field with consistent play and hard work." State opener vs. Ryan Cunnea/Brenden Leibforth (Brother Rice).

Conant (Nikhil Modak/Nico Rosas, 4-1): It's a case of deja vu all over again for this Cougars duo, which was put together last spring after successful seasons at singles saw them reach the state tournament following a second-place finish at sectionals. This season, Rosas won an MSL championship at No. 2 singles, while Modak handled things at No. 1 doubles with Ryo Ishiyama -- before they were again reunited for the state series. "The chemistry between the two of us at doubles is our best attribute, and after doing what was best for our team during the regular season, both of us are thrilled to be back together and headed to the state tournament," said Modak, who was recently named honorable mention on the Daily Herald All-Academic Team and will attend the Illinois next fall and study computer science. "We complement each other so well," said Rosas. "I try to take advantage of my big serve, while Nikhil is just a smart player who helps keep me grounded. We're perfect together." State opener vs. Nathan Horner/Cameron Trail (Urbana).

Conant (Ryo Ishiyama/Arjun Rao, 2-2): The Cougars went two-for-two last weekend at their own sectional, with this pair joining their teammates in the state field after Conant coach Dave Koleno took half of his No. 1 and 2 teams to form another successful tennis story for the sectional team champions. "Ryo is the most improved player I have ever coached, and Arjun is a very smart doubles player with very solid volleys," said Koleno. "They learned each other's games quickly, and have made a great partnership during the short time together, and they are really excited to be a part of the field of 64." State opener vs. Brendan Drinkard McFarland/Blake Van Niel (Homewood-Flossmoor).

Grayslake North (Joe Kizhakkadthu/Matt Pawlowski, 2-2): Coach Jill Tomasello's decision to team her best two players at singles was genius, as the Knights will be in the state tourney for the first time since Nate Campanile advanced in 2012. "Joe is a very aggressive player with a big serve and careful attitude, while Matt is very composed and careful about his game," said Tomasello. "Together they have a lot of skill, and all us around here are very excited that the two of them will be playing this weekend." Kizhakkadthu is a four-year varsity veteran who is headed to Kentucky next fall, while Pawlowski, a sophomore, went 21-7 this season at No. 2 singles. State opener vs. TJ Saas/Joe Mendala (Brother Rice).

Schaumburg (Kevin Eberhardt/Mike Brito, 6-2): Coach Jason Campbell could look into his crystal ball long before the postseason and envision a partnership between his two top players. Fast forward to the Conant sectional, and it all came true as the Saxons fell just short in the final in a wonderfully played three-set contest with Lake Park. Just like that, Schaumburg has a state-qualifying team for the first time in three years. "We looked around at the singles field that would likely be competing here, and we knew a few things would have to go our way in order for us to get anyone out. Although we couldn't get them too many matches together, you could see right away they both get it at doubles, and the results thus far have been terrific," said Campbell. State opener vs. Drew Smits/Seth Bouwer (Illiana Christian).

State of affairsSo, how many points will it take to lift the championship trophy Saturday afternoon in Arlington Heights?

Last year, Hinsdale Central scored 46 to win its fourth consecutive team title.

The reigning champs will not be there at the end this time around, as heavy graduation losses coupled with injuries have brought the Red Devils back to earth this time around, opening things up for others.

New Trier was picked as the team to beat back in April. Thought the Trevians are one of the few to qualify their entire team, in a year where there is so much parity among the top clubs coach Tad Eckert knows his group will need to start fast and grab as points wherever possible to jump ahead on the leader board.

Then, what about Deerfield?

The Warriors have something no other club has here: the top seeds at both singles (Vuk Budic) and doubles, with the dynamic duo of Casati/Wasilewicz arriving here as defending champions and favored to repeat.

Should Budic and his teammates at doubles advance all the way through and win state titles, that would be 32 points for the Warriors, perhaps more than any other top team might be able to muster. The weather could be an ally to Deerfield, if rain washes out backdraw points on the tourney's third and final day of play.

-- Mike Garofola

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