Boys tennis: Jacobs edges Huntley to claim FVC crown
Jacobs was able to squeeze by defending champion Huntley by two points to win the Fox Valley Conference boys tennis title at Crystal Lake Central on Saturday.
The Eagles finished with 55 points while the Red Raiders ended the day with 53.
Jacobs coach Jon Betts was happy with the performance of his team and especially happy for his senior conference champion.
"Across the board, I think we did great," Betts said. "We had some tough matchups in the semifinals, but I think our fourth doubles team really stepped up to clinch conference for us. Kyle (Burton) to finish his senior year as a conference champ was great to see. We're really proud of the way Thomas (Nelson) played, but Johnny (Wallace) played great tennis and it's hard to beat anyone when they're playing that well."
Crystal Lake Central senior John Wallace defeated Jacob's Thomas Nelson 7-5, 7-5 to win No. 1 singles.
"Last year I was in the finals and lost, and then I lost to him (Nelson) in the season, so it feels really good to come back and win," Wallace said. "I'm usually more of a size and pitch, but I needed more power (on serves) to get him off guard. I was more using my forehand to set up my backhand."
Crystal Lake Central coach Cory Osterberg thought that all components of Wallace's game were on Saturday.
"Thomas (Nelson) had a tough match in the semifinals, so we knew that would be to Johnny's advantage," Osterberg said. "Johnny needed to make sure he took control of the point and I think he did a great job of that. Bringing him in and lobbing them, and mixing up the shots. His serve was on and he played great defense and I think that frustrated him (Nelson)."
At No. 1 doubles, Prairie Ridge's Mason Kueller and Jared Arkell defeated Jacob's Kevin Burton and John Kaiser 6-1, 6-2.
"I think I'm better at doubles," Kueller said. "I told the coaches I wanted to play doubles at the start of the season and Jared's the best net player on the team, so we got put together. We're hoping to just keep it going next weekend for sectionals."
"I'm more of a net player, so we compliment each other very well," Arkell said. "I like playing doubles because it's great to feed off of each other and rely on communication. They're (Jacobs) a very talented team. We just stayed calm and confident."
Jacob's Kyle Burton defeated Huntley's Thomas Patel 6-1, 6-3 in No. 2 singles.
"Heading into this year I was just trying to get another step higher," Burton said. "Get the conference championship and then try to get to state next week. We have such a great group of guys on this team and practicing against each other only makes us better. It feels good to be on a team with those guys."
At No. 2 doubles, Huntley's Drake Southwell and Justin Schee defeated Jacob's Ethan Schmidt and Brandon Dinh 6-4, 6-3.
"It feels great to be conference champs," Southwell said. "It was a close match, but we fought it out and finished strong. I'm looking forward to next week. I think if we play to our level we have a great shot at sectionals. We have a good chemistry and communicate well. Justin never played doubles before, but we worked it out and got the hang of it."
Huntley's Matt Grubbs won No. 3 singles, defeating Jacob's Jed Sia 6-0, 6-7, 7-5.
"I was a little nervous at the beginning, but I was able to come back and finish it out," Grubbs said. "I just stayed calm at the end. I think that was the key. I think I learned to just play my game, don't let the other player control the match, and just stick to what you do well. Serving is obviously important, but I think my speed is the key to my ability to play defense."
Huntley's Ben Saiz and Andrew Burkey won No. 3 doubles, defeating Jacob's Benjamin Cannon and Justin Brzeski 6-4, 5-7, 6-3.
"We knew it was going to be tough because we lost to them in the regular season, but we just had to come in here with a positive attitude," Burkey said. "We're proud of our team and our performance here today. We knew it was going to be tough. Jacobs is a great team."
"Tennis is all about keeping a positive attitude, so we just had to play our game," Saiz said. "We all went out and did the best we could so we're happy with our results."
Huntley coach Barry Wells was proud of his team and his three conference champion teams.
"We definitely finished strong," Wells said. "We won every one of our last matches on court. We had some opportunities, and unfortunately came up a bit short. But overall, we're very proud of them. We had three conference champions. That's the most champions we've ever had. We had a great year, and unfortunately came up one match short to a really great team. Hopefully, we'll get them back next year, but now we can look forward to sectionals next week."
At No. 4 doubles, Prairie Ridge's Akash Sureshkumar and Jacob Manley defeated Jacob's Alexander Luy and Christopher Kastritis 6-4, inj.
"Overall, I think we had a pretty successful day. Unfortunately, it ended with an injury, so hopefully, he's OK," Sureshkumar said.
"It was a great way to finish the season," Manley said.