A look at the La Salle-Peru, St. Bede, Mendota and Princeton boys tennis teams entering the 2023 season.
Coach: Aaron Guenther
Top returnees: Andrew Bollis, jr.; Adam Kasperski, so.
Top newcomers: Lucas Hardy, jr.; Colin Krug, jr., Danny Santoy, so.; Michael Milota, so.; Jon Milota, sr.; Riley O’Brien, sr.
Worth noting: Bollis returns as a two-time state qualifier. Last year, he went 25-10 and won a doubles match at the Class 1A state tournament with Joe Pohar, who graduated. He will pair with Santoy this season. Kasperski also returns after placing second in the Interstate 8 Conference Tournament at No. 1 singles last season. O’Brien also will play singles for the Cavaliers, while brothers Jon and Michael will play No. 2 doubles, and Krug and Hardy, who won the No. 1 doubles bracket at the freshman/sophomore level last year, will play No. 3. Krug, Hardy, O’Brien, Michael Milota and Ethan Picco gained varsity experience last season.
”With how everyone has progressed over the summer and even just the first weeks of the season, I could easily see that lineup changing throughout the season,” Guenther said. “These players have the benefit of having played tennis last season, which gives them an obvious leg up, but our newcomers have really proven that they belong in a lineup as well. Challenge matches are going to be competitive and exciting this season.”
Guenther said he expects Bollis and Santoy to contend for a state berth, while the Milota brothers could be a “dark horse candidate.” Guenther said Kasperski also is a potential state qualifier.
“We finished third in the conference and fifth in our sectional last season, and I think the boys have made it their goal to improve on that,” Guenther said. “Returning a two-time state qualifier like Andrew really helps set the tone for the team because he’s able to lead them in what it takes to go about a long and grueling season. I believe we could win the conference and compete for a sectional title if everyone works hard and continues to improve at the rate they have been.”
Coach: Eric Davy
Worth noting: Davy takes over the Bruins. He also is the girls tennis coach at Morris.
Coach: Shawn LeRette
Top returnees: Matt Miller, sr.; Clay Buffington, sr.
Top newcomers: Landon Bauer, jr.; Dagen Setchell, jr.; Trekker Klema, jr.; Landon Lee, jr.; Zach Giberson, sr.; Theron Stanford, sr.
Worth noting: The Trojans lost a strong group of nine seniors from last year’s team, including state qualifiers Logan Brandner and Andrew Stamberger. Two of Miller, Buffington and Lee will be Mendota’s singles players, while whoever is not playing singles will be at doubles along with Bauer, Setchell, Klema, Giberson and Stanford. “Our goal is to be as competitive as possible,” LeRette said. “We have lots of new faces, so it is going to be interesting. But as the season progresses, I think we will be better toward the end than at the beginning. Hopefully, we can have some fun along the way, too.”
Coach: Connie Lind
Top returnees: Tyson Phillips, jr.; Matthew Sims, sr.; Niklas Schneider, sr.; Ben Anderson, jr.; Josh Orwig, jr
Top newcomers: Chase Sims, so.; Asa Gartin, so.
Worth noting: The Tigers return a strong nucleus, led by Phillips, who went 23-7 last season and qualified for the Class 1A state tournament. Also back are Sims and Schneider, who were Princeton’s No. 2 doubles team last year, and Anderson and Orwig, who were the Tigers’ No. 3 doubles team last season. This spring, Phillips will remain in the No. 1 singles spot, and Lind expects him to compete for a return to state. Sims will bump up to No. 1 doubles and will play with Schneider or Anderson. Whoever doesn’t play No. 1 doubles between Schneider and Anderson will play No. 2 doubles with Orwig. Gartin, Michael Ellis, Eli Skaggs and Cali Piper are in the mix for No. 3 doubles. “We’ll shoot for state,” Lind said about the team’s goals. “[We want to] be the best tennis players we can be when we step on the court, play hard and have fun.”