CRYSTAL LAKE – The Jacobs boys tennis team went 1 for 7 in the championship round at the Fox Valley Conference tournament Saturday, but all those silver medals still equaled gold for the Golden Eagles.
Jacobs (55 points) edged Huntley (53) for the team title, with Prairie Ridge (46) finishing third. Jacobs’ Kyle Burton won the Eagles’ lone title at No. 2 singles.
“It means a lot, especially for me as a senior, to go home with a win,” Burton said.
Jacobs won the regular season FVC title and last won the conference tournament in 2017.
Jacobs coach Jon Betts credited his No. 4 doubles team of Alex Luy and Chris Kastritis for their “huge” semifinal victory over Huntley’s Dan Dharmaratne and Jason Coleman.
“Across the board, everyone played great to get into the finals, particularly in the semis,” Betts said. “Fourth doubles clinched the tournament for us with their win over Huntley after dropping the first set, 1-6. They fought back and they put in a lot of effort in that one.”
Crystal Lake Central senior John Wallace won the No. 1 singles championship after finishing as runner-up a year ago. Wallace defeated Jacobs freshman Thomas Nelson, 7-5, 7-5, to claim the title.
“It feels good to come out here and redeem it for me my senior year,” Wallace said. "It was a tough match."
Wallace lost to Nelson in an FVC dual on Monday, 6-4, 6-2. That was Wallace's only FVC defeat. Nelson, who went 8-0 during the FVC regular season, felt he wasn’t as consistent on Saturday as he was during their first matchup.
“Johnny played really well [Saturday],” Nelson said. “There were a lot of times where he just played better than I did. When he’s bringing his A-game and I’m not, he’s going to take it.”
Nelson provided Jacobs with another key semifinal victory when he defeated Huntley’s Saarav Desai, 4-6, 6-1, 7-5, to reach the final.
At No. 1 doubles, Prairie Ridge’s Max Kueller and Jared Arkell defeated Jacobs’ Kevin Burton and John Kaiser, 6-1, 6-2, to claim the title. It was the third consecutive year a Wolves duo won the doubles title. Former Prairie Ridge players Daniel Lamar and Patrick Nasta won the previous two doubles titles.
“It’s good to keep the legacy going,” Kueller said. “We were just quiet, calm, confident."
Kueller and Arkell went unbeaten in FVC play during the regular season and are 25-2 overall. Arkell noted that Kevin Burton and Kaiser didn’t give up many free points in the title match.
“We had to be more aggressive,” Arkell said. “We hit our shots, hit our volleys."
Huntley won three individual titles. Matt Grubbs won the No. 3 singles title, Drake Southwell and Justin Schee won at No. 2 doubles and Ben Saiz and Andrew Burkey won at No. 3 doubles.
Prairie Ridge’s Akash Sureshkumar and Jacob Manley won at No. 4 doubles.
STAR OF THE MATCH
Crystal Lake Central, sr., singles
Wallace won the No. 1 singles title after finishing as the runner-up a year ago.
7: Jacobs, which won the team title, had a competitor reach the championship match in all seven flights.
AND ANOTHER THING …
Huntley won three individual titles and finished second as a team, two points behind Jacobs. Prairie Ridge’s Max Kueller and Jared Arkell won the No. 1 doubles title.
FVC team results: 1. Jacobs 55, 2. Huntley 53, 3. Prairie Ridge 46, 4. Crystal Lake Central 37, 5. Crystal Lake South 36, 6. Cary-Grove 29, 7. Hampshire 20, 8. Dundee-Crown 18, 9. McHenry 17.
FVC championship matches
No. 1 singles: Wallace (CLC) def. Nelson (Jac), 7-5, 7-5.
No. 2 singles: Ky. Burton (Jac) def. Patel (Hunt), 6-1, 6-3.
No. 3 singles: Grubbs (Hunt) def. Sia (Jac), 6-0, 6-7, 7-5.
No. 1 doubles: Kueller/Arkell (PR) def. Ke. Burton/Kaiser (Jac), 6-1, 6-2.
No. 2 doubles: Southwell/Schee (Hunt) def. Schmidt/Dinh (Jac), 6-4, 6-3.
No. 3 doubles: Saiz/Burkey (Hunt) def. Cannon/Brzeski (Jac), 6-4, 5-7, 6-3.
No. 4 doubles: Sureshkumar/Manley (PR) def. Luy/Kastritis (Jac), 6-4, inj.