CRYSTAL LAKE – No one was more surprised at winning an individual title at the Fox Valley Conference Tournament than Prairie Ridge's Hayden Dzurisin.
In the No. 2 singles final, Dzurisin beat Jacobs’ Kendrick Chong, the No. 1 seed, 7-5, 2-6, 13-11. Third sets were decided by a 10-point super tiebreaker in the tournament.
Chong was undefeated in the FVC and beat Dzurisin decidedly in their Valley Division dual, giving up just one game.
In the first set, Chong was up 4-1 and Dzurisin said he thought he might be in for more of the same.
“At first, I was like 'This is going to be another blowout,' ” Dzurisin said.
Dzurisin rallied to take the first set after deciding to just start hitting through the ball and not worry about the outcome. Chong took the second to set up a marathon super tiebreaker.
Dzurisin fended off two consecutive match points for Chong and finally won on his third match point.
“I was in shock. I really didn’t think I could pull it off,” Dzurisin said. “I really didn’t care if I won or lost. I was just proud that I got that far.”
Dzurisin was one of six title winners for the Wolves, which won the team championship with 108 points, two shy of the maximum. Also winning titles were Aaditya Rawal at No. 3 singles and in doubles, Danny VanBosch and Matt Cox at No. 1, Matt Altman and Garrett Locher (No. 2), Andy Park and Jared Priesz (No. 3) and Joey Weissmann and Steve Diklich (No. 4).
VanBosch and Cox had a rough end to their season and were not playing well heading into the tournament as the No. 4 seed. A change in attitude was all they needed.
“We were taking it too seriously because it’s our senior year,” Cox said. “We just went out today and had fun.”
In the semifinals, VanBosch and Cox beat Jacobs’ Riley Rowan and Matt Toomire, the No. 1 seed and in the championship they defeated McHenry’s Nick Higgin and Jake Maher.
“We were trying to stay loose,” Van Bosch said. “I think we definitely figured it out today.”
Wolves coach Jim Benson said he was happy to see the turnaround for his top doubles team but was concerned going into the tournament.
“I thought they were going to be nervous and wanting to do their best, which can lead to mental errors,” Benson said. “We need to stay light and have fun.”
Golden Eagles’ sophomore Kailash Panchapakesan won his first FVC title at No. 1 singles, defeating Hampshire’s Elisha Hougland, 6-1, 3-6, 10-7, in the finals. Panchapakesan lost to Hougland in last year’s championship.
“I knew it would be a tough match going in and it was,” Panchapakesan said.
Jacobs was second with 93 points followed by Cary-Grove (82), Grayslake Central (78), Huntley (72), Grayslake North (71) and Crystal Lake South (70).