Lake County men's tennis goes from zero to hero in one season
The College of Lake County (CLC) men's tennis team hung up a donut last season; this season, it's more like a piece of cake.
After a winless 2016, the Lancers did a near-180, claiming the top spot in the Illinois Skyway Conference this year with a 6-3 overall record that included going 5-1 in the region and 4-1 in the conference.
CLC head coach Jim Love told the Lake County Gazette that the team edged Prairie State by 1 point to win the conference championship. It is the program's first Illinois Skyway title since 2000, according to the school's athletic website.
All that after the Lancers went 0-10 in 2016.
Love said that the turnaround was keyed by the drive of the players.
“We had a group of very motivated and talented young men come into the school this year, and they worked really hard since the fall and over the winter and had good success this spring,” he said.
Individually for CLC through April 27, Alec Munro was 7-0 at No. 6 singles, including going 4-0 in region play and 3-0 in conference action
Zach Wisniewski at No. 4 singles went 4-0 in league play and 5-0 in the region as part of his 5-2 overall record.
Alex Tobias at No. 2 singles was 6-3 overall, including going 5-1 in region and 4-1 in conference.
In other individual results for the Lancers, Chethan Anant at No. 3 singles was 3-1 overall and 2-1 in region as well as conference; Oliver Gallego at No. 1 singles was 3-6 overall, 3-3 in region and 2-3 in conference; Jason Gomez at No. 4 singles was 3-6 overall, 3-4 in region and 2-3 in conference; and Octavio Velazquez at No. 3 singles was 1-6 overall, 1-3 in region and 1-2 in conference.
“They certainly have different styles of play and different personalities, but the thing they have in common is they really enjoy playing tennis, and they are willing to work very hard to get better,” Love said.
The coach said that the team had potential near the beginning of the season because of its depth.
“We did recognize early that this is a very talented group,” Love said.
This season's results came with several freshmen in starting spots, unlike another recent strong team at CLC that was laden with players with college experience.
“They certainly bring enthusiasm because everything we do they're doing for the first time,” Love said. “But it's a talented group, and it's an enthusiastic group, and so they've embraced every new experience with enthusiasm. So, it's exciting to see them go through the process for the first time.”
The number of freshmen leading this year's charge also makes the future promising.
“That's very exciting in that, hopefully, we'll be able to duplicate if not improve upon this year's success next year,” Love said.