Athletes of the Week
The No. 1 doubles team of Higgin and Maher handed Prairie Ridge its first Fox Valley Conference Valley Division individual defeat of the season with a 5-7, 7-6, 6-3 win April 24. On Saturday, the Wolves took fourth at the Champaign Centennial tournament and took Warren’s Samuel Gudeman and Scott Seiler to a tiebreaker in the first set of a 7-6, 6-1 loss in the semifinals. Gudeman made it to the fourth consolation round last year at state with a different partner. On the year, Higgin and Maher are 14-3.
Wolves washed out: Prairie Ridge coach Jim Benson would have likely picked any other week than this one to get washed out. The Wolves’ dual meets against Jacobs on Tuesday and Crystal Lake South on Thursday were rained out.
“This was the biggest week in PR tennis,” Benson said. “We [were scheduled to] go against two of our biggest rivals.”
It was especially poignant Tuesday against Jacobs, which he coached last season, although the meet eventually was postponed.
“Obviously, for me going back and playing Jacobs was a huge week personally,” Benson said.
Benson said he had mixed emotions Tuesday with the intermittent rain. It would have been an important FVC Valley showdown with Jacobs and Prairie Ridge undefeated in division play.
“I wanted to play,” Benson said. “(But) of course I want the best conditions possible to play those guys.”
With the postponements, the schedule becomes more compressed. The Wolves will play Jacobs on Monday, Cary-Grove on Tuesday and Crystal Lake South on Wednesday.
The Wolves may be the deepest team in the conference, especially in doubles. And that depth extends past the starting lineup. Benson said having a deep roster of good players makes running a practice more fun and beneficial for everybody.
“My [No.] 5 and 6 exhibition [players] can play with my 1-2 doubles,” Benson said. “They all challenge each other. It’s been awesome.”
FVC Tournament: Finding a time to play the FVC Tournament has been a struggle for Cary-Grove coach Amanda Schuetzle, the tournament director and host. Between finals and graduation ceremonies, the typical Friday and Saturday format wasn’t possible.
The solution was putting it Monday and Tuesday, May 19 and 20. Play will begin both days at 2 p.m.
It will be a busy week for area players as sectional competition will begin that same week May 23.
This week's top meets
9 a.m. Saturday
Crystal Lake South hosts Marian Central, and Prairie Ridge hosts Crystal Lake Central at multiteam tournaments.
Grayslake Central at Crystal Lake Central
4:30 p.m. Thursday
A big FVC Fox Division dual meet.
– Rob Smith