Boys tennis: Big things happening for Willowbrook tennis
It's an exciting time for the Willowbrook tennis program.
Not only are the Warriors 6-2 and playing well this season, the school recently broke ground on a new tennis facility.
When completed, Willowbrook will have 16 tennis courts on its campus.
There's plenty of talented Warriors who will be using those courts -- only two seniors Nathan Nichols (second doubles) and Yousef Habeeb (third singles) are in the lineup. Willowbrook is currently in third place in conference behind Downers Grove South and Hinsdale South.
"The good news is that my team is very young with a whole lot of talent," Warriors coach Ed Delacruz said.
No. 1 singles player Patrick Kozbial is over .500 as a sophomore, as is junior team captain Tawfic Elghor.
Delacruz calls the sophomore combination of Quinten Terselic and Connor Nolan his "energy players." Sam D'Alessandro is a "versatile doubles player," and all of them also have winning records in conference.
Glenbard East update:
The Rams stood at 4-3-1 through the middle of the week, with their best win over Bartlett, 5-2. They lost a tough 4-3 match to conference rival Glenbard South.
"We hope to make that up either through our regular season conference matches or in the conference tournament," Rams coach Steve Hoogerheide said.
Junior first singles player Matt Naughton has played well, according to Hoogerheide, highlighted by a victory over Streamwood.
Senior Matt Gollins and junior Steve Flanagan are 6-2 at first doubles. Despite being new to tennis, the second doubles team of senior Ian Andler Pascual and sophomore John Polyak have been a pleasant surprise with a 4-2 record.
"They have worked very hard and picked up the game quickly," Hoogerheide said.
Glenbard South update:
The Raiders are 6-2 including wins over Glenbard East and Bartlett. They are led by sophomore Erik Ziekus (5-2) and senior Steve Lietz (7-0)
"So far our senior leadership has been the key for us," coach Wade Hardtke said. "We have a good group of singles and they are doing well for us."
Hinsdale Central update:
The Red Devils are rolling again at 8-0 including a win over Lyons.
"They (Lyons) are a rival of ours and always present a challenge," coach John S Naisbitt said. "We are limited to playing in our conference until sectional and state and have not seen the rest of the state so it will be interesting."
Hinsdale Central has the talent to make noise in the postseason. Senior captain Ansh Shah and junior Noah Hernandez are both "excellent players who are going to play at the next level," said Naisbitt. Ansh will play at Division III Case Western next fall and Naisbitt said Hernandez has the talent to play at a Division 1 university next year.
Among the highlights for Hernandez, playing at No. 1 singles, is beating Dominck Cochran from Lyons, 6-0, 7-6.
Coach Courtney Bison likes the mix she has seen during her team's 6-3 start that features wins over Glenbard West, Downers Grove South, Downers Grove North, Hinsdale South and Proviso West.
"We have a nice blend this year -- half are returning varsity players and half are new, so the matches have been competitive," Bison said. "I am proud of how resilient our players have been and how hard they work on a regular basis."
The No. 1 doubles team of senior Gage Burkhardt and junior Sam Wit are 6-3 and the second doubles team of junior TJ Paul and freshman Anthony Arnieri are 7-2.
Bison also likes the way third doubles -- senior Grant Dyer and junior Gannon Rice -- and fourth doubles -- juniors Jack Tuchscherer and Paul Nicoli -- are playing.
Senior Nate White, freshman Adam Fennell and junior Jonah Sweley make up the one through three singles positions, respectively.
"They hold tough spots, but are staying as competitive as they can," Bison said.
St. Francis update:
The Spartans feature a dynamite No. 1 singles player in junior Kory Carlson who is currently ranked No. 5 in the IHSA's Tennis Power rankings out of almost 1,600 Illinois singles players. He is 13-2.
At second singles Matt Kazmirak is No. 214 in those same rankings with a record of 9-4.
Carlson faced Wheaton Academy's Jacob Williams on Thursday and lost a close match, 7-6, 6-3. The two played in the sectional two years ago with Williams winning.
The two might meet again on June 4-5 when St. Francis hosts a sectional.
Overall the Spartans are 5-9.
"We don't have the needed depth this season losing 13 seniors after last year's non-season," coach Tom Castronovo said. "All these guys are happy to be back competing after their season was wiped out."
Wheaton Academy update:
The Warriors improved to 6-3 after a win over St. Francis on Thursday. They are 2-0 in conference.
No. 1 singles player Jacob Williams has only lost once. He will play at Wheaton College next year.
"He is doing a great job this season," Warriors coach Elisha Hougland said.
Lake Park update:
Lake Park has started the season 7-4 including the title of its own Lake Park Invitational.
"I am very proud of the work this team puts in on a daily basis in practice and all of their efforts are paying off," Lancers coach Tim Martin said.
Seniors Joey Randazzo and Danny Steuer are friends off the court and playing well at first doubles with a win this week over St. Charles North. Overall, they are 12-2.
"Joey is our team captain and really sets the tone in practice every day with his strong work ethic and intensity," Martin said. "Danny has been playing great and is our most improved player."
Martin called Oliver Kubicki the "best freshman we have had in a while." He's 10-4 at first singles after a close loss to St. Charles North's Mattas Ciabilis.
"It has been great to see the daily growth in Oliver's game as he gains experience playing high school tennis," Martin said. "I am really excited to see how he plays over this final stretch of the season."