When it comes to the IHSA Boys Tennis State Tournament, La Salle-Peru coach Aaron Guenther said, “anytime you avoid a seed in the first round, you have to consider it a good draw.”
In that case, the Cavaliers duo of Andrew Bollis and Joe Pohar and the Mendota pair of Logan Brandner and Andrew Stambger got good draws for the Class 1A state tournament, which runs Thursday to Saturday in the Chicago suburbs, while Princeton sophomore Tyson Phillips wasn’t as lucky.
Bollis and Pohar will face Aurora Central Catholic’s Justin Cebulski and Bryan Novack in the first round.
Cebulski and Novack are ACC’s No. 2 doubles team and finished fourth at the Joliet Catholic Sectional.
“From what I can tell, this is a team we can compete with, but you never truly know how competitive their sectional was,” Guenther said. “They may be ACC’s second doubles team, and they may have finished fourth in their sectional, but that doesn’t really matter at this point in the season, as everyone is in a win or go home situation, so you’re going to get their best.”
Bollis and Pohar placed third at the Ottawa Sectional.
If they win the first match, they could face St. Ignatius’ Liam McConnell and Will McHugh, who are a No. 9-16 seed.
“If they play within themselves and don’t let the moment get the best of them, then there’s no reason they can’t win a couple matches and maybe even make it to Friday,” Guenther said.
Mendota coach Shawn LeRette said Brandner and Stamberger, who won two matches at state last season, need to play cleaner after placing fourth at the Ottawa Sectional.
“We have to cut down on unforced errors,” LeRette said. “We had far too many unforced errors at the sectional. Uncharacteristic errors. If we cut down on beating ourselves and make them win points, I think we’ll be fine.”
The Mendota pair will play Grayslake North’s Varun Gullapalli and Jacob Marshall in the first round.
If the Trojans win that, they’ll likely face No. 1 seed Max and James Braun from Champaign Centennial.
“I like our draw,” LeRette said. “When you get fourth in your sectional, a lot of times you end up with a top seed, and we got an unseeded team, so you can’t complain. I know it’ll be a good team from Grayslake, but we’re going to give it a whirl and see what we can do.”
LeRette said he’s concerned about the weather affecting the consolation bracket.
“With the weather the way it’s sounding – it’s not going to be good – they’re probably going to cancel the backdraw, so once you lose, you’re done. So I’d like to win that first match,” LeRette said. “If they do win that one, they’re facing the No. 1 seed, so realistically, that’s probably a little too big for my kids.
“If they don’t cancel the backdraw, then I think it’s realistic they could win a couple matches. They did last year, so they can do it again.”
Phillips, who placed fourth at the Ottawa Sectional, drew Benet’s Zach Bobofchak, a No. 9-16 seed, in the first round.
“Tyson’s draw was not ideal, but whatever happens, he’s ready for the experience that not many players get to have,” Princeton coach Connie Lind said.