Boys Tennis: Libertyville sends trio to state tennis tourney
Despite not being at 100 percent, Jack Springgate of the Wildcats teamed with Eric Klein to win the doubles title on Saturday. | Mark Ukena~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: July 23, 2012 1:46AM
It’s known in tennis circles as “iron elbow.”
But the condition revolves more around the mind of a player than it does the elbow. Some netters get tight in big matches and therefore play tentatively.
Libertyville High School boys tennis coach Dan Kiernan didn’t have to loosen any of his Wildcats’ wings – or remind them to settle down mentally – at last weekend’s Lakes sectional in Lake Villa.
“If they were nervous they didn’t show it,” he said.
Three of Libertyville’s four sectional entrants qualified for State, and none is a senior. Juniors Eric Klein/Jack Springgate defeated Warren’s Matt Matheny/Samuel Gudeman 6-0, 6-4 for the doubles championship.
Springgate (ankle) wasn’t 100 percent healthy.
“Eric played really well on Friday (early rounds and state-qualifying round), which was helpful because of Jack’s injury,” said Kiernan. “He showed me he can carry the day if that’s needed.”
Libertyville freshman Ben VanDixhorn finished runner-up in singles to reigning No. 1 NSC champ Kristiyan Trukov of Warren after beating Warren senior Wesley Stoller 6-0, 6-1 in a semifinal Saturday morning.
Trukov topped VanDixhorn 6-0, 6-2 in Saturday’s final.
“Against (Stoller) I wanted to rally instead of trying to put the ball away too early,” said VanDixhorn, who placed fifth at No. 1 singles at the NSC meet earlier this month and qualified for State on Friday with a victory in a quarterfinal. “(Trukov) overpowered me.
“I realized how important it was to play with intensity on every point of every match, no matter who was on the other side. I enjoyed the sectional on both days and I enjoyed rooting for my teammates.”
The Wildcats’ third entrant to qualify for State was the tandem of juniors Adam Daluga/Adam Grabowski. The duo placed third in doubles with a 1-6, 6-2, 6-2 defeat of a McHenry pair.
“They stepped up to win in straight sets (in Friday’s state-qualifying round) and hung in there during the match for third place,” Kiernan said of his No. 2 doubles team. “They got the chance to compete against top teams and did well against those teams.”
In the team standings Libertyville (25 point) finished runner-up to Warren (28).
Flashbacks: The last Libertyville Wildcat to qualify for State in singles was Griffin Pils in 2010. He won three matches in the back draw after a first-round loss as a sophomore. Pils, a guard, was an all-NSC player for the school’s basketball team in 2011-12.
The last doubles team form Libertyville to compete at State was Bill Stranberg/Rudi Antons in ’02. The pair won three of five matches.
State-ment: The state meet starts May 24 at Hersey in Arlington Heights and many other sites.
Last weekend’s Deerfield boys tennis sectional was easily the toughest in the state.
Good players’ seasons would end a week before they should have – at this weekend’s state meet.
None of Carmel Catholic’s and Mundelein High School’s entrants earned a state berth at a sectional featuring perennial powers Deerfield, Lake Forest and Highland Park.
Carmel’s Bryan Hunt/Geoff Butler, seeded third in doubles, lost 6-4, 6-2 to Lake Forest’s Ryan Kennedy/Will Martin in a state-qualifying match Friday afternoon. Sixth-seeded freshman Brandon Dechter of Carmel bowed 6-3, 6-3 to fourth-seeded Scott Christian of LF in another state-qualifying.
Mundelein senior Ryan Jump and Carmel freshman Kevin Hunt played in the most competitive singles match of the sectional in the Round of 16 on Friday afternoon. Jump edged Hunt 6-4, 1-6, 6-3. The Mustang then lost to third-seeded Toby Ma of Deerfield 6-0, 6-4 in another state-qualifying match.
Lake Forest captured the sectional championship with 26 points behind state-qualifying efforts from all four of its entrants. Carmel took fourth (10 points) and Mundelein placed fifth (8).