Boys tennis preview: LT looks for another top 10 finish

Published: Wednesday, April 10, 2013 5:28 p.m. CDT • Updated: Wednesday, April 10, 2013 5:36 p.m. CDT
Caption
Lyons Township's Jake Elliott moves into the No. 1 singles spot this spring. File photo by Erica Benson — ebenson@shawmedia.com

Lyons Township

Coach: Bill Wham

Top returners:

Cuyler Burke so.

Jake Elliott sr.

Chris O'Reilly sr.

Matt Pesch sr.

Jack Wennerstrum jr.

What to watch: The Lions return three state qualifiers from a top-10 team in state last year.

Last year's top singles player as a freshman, Alex Ross, is not on the team this year. Ross is competing in USTA tournaments during the season.

In his place is senior Jake Elliott, who also starred as a kicker for the football team. Elliott was a state qualifier last year and won the first tournament of the season on Saturday despite not playing in the winter.

Sophomore Cuyler Burke moves into the No. 2 singles role after competing on the varsity team as a freshman. Burke won the back draw at the Libertyville Invite.

Chris O'Reilly and Jack Wennerstrum will team to form the No. 1 doubles team. They played with different partners last year, but both qualified for state.

Coach Bill Wham realizes Hinsdale Central is the heavy favorite to win the West Suburban Silver and is also in the same sectional as LT. Wham said the Lions' goals are to finish second in the conference and finish top 10 in the state again.

Morton

Coach: Philip Stowers

Top returners:

Ashton Alexander sr.

Karl Fiesta sr.

Steven Fisher sr.

Marcos Martinez sr.

What to watch: The Mustangs got off to a 6-1 start in dual matches and have some good talent, but a tough sectional draw with Hinsdale Central and Lyons Township will make postseason success difficult.

Morton has 10 senior returners that make for a deep lineup. Ashton Alexander (No. 1 singles), Marcos Martinez (No. 2 singles/No. 1 doubles), Steven Fisher (No. 1 doubles) and Karl Fiesta (No. 1/No. 2 doubles) highlight that group.

Varsity newcomers Israel Urzua and Joe Irmis will also play high up in the singles lineup.

"We want to keep working hard, play our best tennis at the end of the year, and continue to develop," said coach Phil Stowers. "Our players rarely play tennis before coming to Morton so their success is due to their dedication and hard work."

Riverside Brookfield

Coach: Brennan Denny

Top returners:

Ryan Gradishar sr.

Peter Pierdinock so.

Andrew Pilewski so.

Jimmy Rock sr.

What to watch: A young RB team will hope to improve throughout the spring.

Senior Ryan Gradishar is playing at No. 1 singles and has a 1-2 record in early season matches. Sophomore Peter Pierdinock will also be a top singles player for the Bulldogs.

Andrew Pilewski and Jimmy Rock have teamed up at No. 1 doubles, but Pilewski has also seen some action at singles.

RB will try to improve on last year's sixth-place finish in the Metro Suburban Conference.

Nazareth

Coach: Paul Garvin

Top returners:

Cameron Franko sr.

Tommy Gray sr.

Joe Mara sr.

Michael Straface sr.

What to watch: After graduating just three players and returning nine seniors the Roadrunners are hoping for a strong season.

Tommy Gray and Michael Straface played No. 1 doubles last year, but may split up this spring. Either way, both players are expected to anchor the team.

Joe Mara and Cameron Franko are also returning starters. Seniors Tommy Herr and Brian Pollard and junior Kevin Saladino will be on the doubles team.

Fenwick

Coach: Gerard Sullivan

Top returners:

Jack Carey sr.

Colin Fitzpatrick so.

Jack Ryan sr.

What to watch: The Friars return just two of the top six from last year, but expect the depth from last year to fill in the top positions without much problem.

Senior Jack Ryan is a two-time state qualifier and will be a fixture at the No. 1 doubles position. Sophomore Colin Fitzpatrick will split time between partnering with Ryan and playing No. 1 singles. Fitzpatrick was at No. 2 singles last year.

Jack Carey will move up from No. 3 singles to No. 2 this year.

Coach Gerard Sullivan named Loyola and St. Ignatius as Fenwick's top competition in the Chicago Catholic League, but the Friars still expect to finish in the top three in the league.

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