Boys tennis: Sophomore duo helps Batavia win sectional title
Batavia coach Brad Nelson certainly had faith in his young doubles team with the Class 2A Geneva sectional championship on the line Saturday afternoon.
Dropping the first game 6-7 (6), the Bulldogs sophomore duo of TJ Stras and Erik Warner bounced back to win the next two games 6-2, 6-4 to defeat St. Charles North's duo of Brady Barnes and Noah Bajuk to win the sectional title.
Because of inclement weather, the semifinals and finals were held indoors at the Norris Center in St. Charles.
Stras and Warner's effort lifted the Bulldogs to the sectional title with 23 points outdistancing St. Charles North, who scored 20 points.
St. Charles North beat Batavia 5-2 in a DuKane Conference dual a week ago.
"There were a lot of close matches and a lot of three-set matches," said Nelson,
"TJ and Erik Warner work so hard. Erik was on fourth doubles a year ago and now he is on the first doubles team which won the sectional."
The sophomore duo were excited with the championship win.
"It is awesome," said Stras. "We got our serves in and our returns."
"When we lost the first game we were still confident," said Warner. "We made great shots."
St. Charles North senior Mattas Ciabilis, who will walk-on at Illinois-Chicago, powered his way to the singles title. Ciabilis defeated Batavia's Kohl Winkle 6-1, 6-0.
Winkle was fatigued, winning a nearly 3-hour marathon semifinal match against St. Charles North's Jon Spicer 3-6, 6-0, 7-6 (6-4).
"I knew whoever I played they would be tired," said Ciabilis. "I tried to get him to attack and tried to get my first serve in. It is all mental with me."
North Stars coach Sean Masoncup believes Ciabilis will play well at next week's state meet.
"He is one of the best players in the state," said Masoncup. "I am hoping for a top 24 finish."
In the third place singles match, Jacob Arulandu defeated Spicer 6-2, 6-1.
In the third place doubles match, St. Charles East's Quincy Moss and Tiernan Price defeated Batavia's Liam Cheaney and Hank McClure 6-2, 6-2.
It will be Moss's second trip to state.
"We are disappointed we didn't get to play for the championship," said Moss. "Consistency is the big thing with us. We wanted to stay positive."
Price is making his first trip to the state finals.
"I am happy to go to the state finals," said Price. "We have great communication."