HINSDALE – When you’ve had as much success as Hinsdale Central’s boys tennis program has, there are no small goals.
So even though the Red Devils endured a little bit of drama with Michael Lorenzini, last year’s third-place singles player, leaving the team to focus on USTA tournaments, they haven’t altered what they hope to accomplish.
“We want to win state,” head coach John Naisbitt said. “We want to win our third straight state title. We have very clear goals and we’re very focused. That’s a big part of any team – having clear goals and having everyone pulling on the same end of the rope.”
Lorenzini helped the Red Devils win the DecoTurf Team Championships tournament in March before leaving the team, but Central hasn’t missed a beat. It simply shifted the lineup and then went on to win titles at the Downers Grove South/Benet invite, its own Jay Kramer invite and Hersey’s Pitchford invite.
Junior Martin Joyce, the defending state singles champion and an Ohio State recruit, went from playing first doubles with Chase Hamilton back to No. 1 singles.
Junior Eddie Grabill, who teamed up with Harold Martin to win a doubles state title last spring, is currently manning No. 2 singles.
His lone loss of the season was against Joyce.
Hamilton, a senior and Valparaiso recruit, is paired with Lope Adelakun at No. 1 doubles.
“We got rid of Martin and Chase as a doubles team, and all Chase and Lope have done is gone undefeated since we put them together,” Naisbitt said. “In eight or nine days, they could solidly be the No. 1 seed in the state. They’re very dynamic.”
The No. 2 doubles team and Jimmy Bruning and Mike Czlonka placed third at the Kramer and second at the Pitchford.
Grabill’s ability to hold down his spot at singles has been key, Naisbitt said.
“He’s the reason we can pull this off,” the coach said. “He’s going to be a hard out in the [state] tournament. He’s just tough. He’s got a great return game.”
Lyons Township figures to be the stiffest competition when Central hosts its own sectional May 24, and the Red Devils just defeated the Lions 7-0 in a dual meet Tuesday to remain undefeated.
Having Joyce, Grabill and Hamilton, who was all-state as a sophomore, on the team will help the Red Devils as they go for another state title.
“Those are who I call the big three and they’re going to lead us, figuratively and literally, through state,” Naisbitt said. “Having people who have been in and around the state tournament and can show our players who haven’t what it’s about can only help.”