Scouting DuPage County tennis
With a full tennis season set to start, Neuqua Valley is one of the DuPage County boys teams looking to make some noise this spring.
The Wildcats won all five of their DuPage Valley Conference matches last season to capture the conference title and a sectional championship.
"We graduated some key contributors, so normally this year would lower my expectations, but the players who have moved into those vacancies have shown to be more than capable of playing at a high level," Neuqua Valley coach William Rose said. "We're primed to make a good run at the conference title again and at the sectional. Our strongest quality is the depth of our roster, and having a lot of players who would fill a starting role well. Our top players have a strong sense of fundamentals and the right attitude to compete with the high quality opponents both in the area and the state."
Sophomore singles player Johnny Mou is among the Wildcats' top returnees, as is state doubles player, senior Jonah Grover. Junior Sid Javeri is the most likely candidate to team up with Grover, Rose said. Junior Kai Sun and senior Tyler Yu are slated to move up from No. 4 doubles to No. 2.
Timothy Christian heads into the new season with high expectations. The Trojans, who finished 18-1 last season, have a plethora of talented players slated to come back. At singles, Tommy King, a Class 1A state qualifier, along with No. 1 doubles player Sammy Valeo, are both looking for a return to state. Senior captain Winston Chen, who plays singles and doubles, is also a key returnee.
"We return six of our eight starters from an 18-1 team," Timothy Christian coach Keith Mills said. "Sammy, Tommy and Winston are all capable of playing and winning at number one singles, which is rare for a small school to have three players at that level. Our goal is to win conference and advance more players to the state tourney. Tommy King is a big hitter and can overpower many opponents. Winston and Sammy are most likely playing first doubles together."
St. Francis had a banner season in 2021, with a tie for third in the conference and second place effort in sectionals. Senior Kory Carlson, who placed fourth in sectionals, is looking to win a state title this season.
"Kory is an outstanding singles players and his expectations and aspirations are high for this season," St. Francis coach Tom Castronovo said. "We expect contributions from senior Liam Galbraith and junior Joey Castaldo who both have set their sights higher."
Metea Valley, which won one of its four conference matches last season, is looking for a solid season after returning seven starters, highlighted by the No. 1 doubles team of Nikunj Tyagi and Akshay Baid.
"I have high hopes to be conference champs this year," Metea Valley coach Kole Clousing said. "If not conference champs, we would like to be top three."
Glenbard West (7-7) finished fourth in the West Suburban Silver last season. Senior singles player Sullivan Monteith, an all-state player, is one of the top players in the area. He committed to Belmont Abbey in North Carolina.
"Our team this year has really good depth across the board," Glenbard West coach Tad Keely said. "We look forward to getting some wins out of the bottom of our lineup."
Glenbard South is hoping for a big season from singles player, Arjun Kirtikar, who also is going to play some doubles this season, according to coach Wade Hardtke. Erik Ziekus is another player to watch at singles.
"Erik has really seemed to find his confidence in the offseason," Hardtke said. "Arjun has continued to mature and really embraced being a senior and leader on the team."
Hinsdale Central is loaded with talented returnees, led by captains Mujtaba Ali-Khan (Purdue recruit), Noah Hernandez (Brown) and Dean Kamenov (Emory). The Red Devils are seeking to win their third state title in the last four years.
"We have several top-rated local and national players," Hinsdale Central coach John Naisbitt said. "We have a lot of excellent players who will represent us at the state tournament."
No. 1 singles player Zach Slade is one of the top returnees at Naperville North. Juniors Dovy Jasinauskas and Nathan Lee are slated to play at No. 1 doubles after winning four rounds in the playoffs.
After finishing sixth in the state tournament last season, Benet (10-13) brings backs senior standouts Drew Donovan, John Yahiro and Noah Bobofchak. Freshmen Zach Bobofchak and Patrick Burke are two players aiming to make waves in their first season.
"We hope to be competitive, with a lot of strong teams in the area," Benet coach Michael Hand said. "We have a deep group of players this year, and not a big drop off from top to bottom."
York (9-8) returns a good mix of players to put them in the mix to be among the top three in the conference. Senior Sam Wit, a returning doubles state qualifier, joins sophomore Anthony Arnieri and senior TJ Paul as players to watch.
"Our entire varsity team is going to be competitive and grown from every match," York coach Courtney Bison said.