Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Boys tennis: La Salle-Peru sweeps Ottawa, clinches unbeaten I-8 championship

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OTTAWA – It wasn’t as smooth as they would have liked their match to have gone, but the La Salle-Peru No. 1 doubles team of senior Andrew Bollis and junior Danny Santoy will take it.

Bollis and Santoy battled Ottawa’s No. 1 duo of senior Alan Sifuentes and sophomore Evan Krafft tooth and nail until finally earning a 7-6 (10-2), 5-7, 6-3 triumph in the Cavaliers’ 5-0 sweep of the Pirates at the Henderson-Guenther Tennis Facility on Monday afternoon.

The victory completed an unbeaten Interstate 8 Conference regular season for Bollis and Santoy and helped La Salle-Peru close out a 5-0 conference record.

“That third set was the really the story of the match,” Bollis said. “The first set we were up 4-1, and [Sifeuntes and Krafft] came back to take it to a tiebreaker. Then in the second set we were up 5-1, and they came all the way back to win it. Then in the third set we jump out 5-0, and they came back to win the next three games before we closed.

“It’s always tough, but we have to find a way to close things out better. Credit them, though, they were relentless and just kept coming.”

“I thought everyone up and down our lineup brought their ‘A’ game today.”

—  Aaron Guenther, La Salle-Peru boys tennis coach

Santoy was able to finish off the match with a thunderous smash.

“It wasn’t our best match this season, a lot of ups and downs, but I did feel like we did a good job with our serve-receive the whole match,” Santoy said. “I feel like we each did a pretty good job of making shots that helped set the other one up.

“There were a number of very frustrating moments, balls going just out of bounds or just clipping the net and not going over, but I thought we both did a good job of just moving on to the next point.”

Also in doubles, the Cavaliers’ No. 2 team of Michael Peters and Colin Krug defeated Ottawa’s Caden Walter and Landon Sawin 6-1, 6-0; while the L-P No. 3 team of Nick Olivero and Riley Cetwinski topped the Pirates’ Ayden Sexton and Kaden Araujo 6-0, 6-4.

“I thought everyone up and down our lineup brought their ‘A’ game today, ” L-P coach Aaron Guenther said. “This was only the second conference match together for Nick and Riley at No. 3 doubles, and they played a very strong match. At No. 2 doubles, Michael and Colin have been battling injuries and having to play with other people all season but teamed up today for a strong outing. Then we had John (Crane) at No. 2 singles, who has been playing strong for us all season long and continued to play well.

“Jackson Sellett has had tough shoes to fill all season, he’s getting every team’s best guy. His record may not show it, but, man, has he gotten better as the season went along. Then throw in Andrew and Danny, wow, what a great match for them to finally close out and finish the conference season undefeated for themselves and the team.

“I’m really happy for all the guys on a great accomplishment.”

In singles, Sellett defeated Ottawa’s Collin Olszewski 6-4, 6-1; while Crane picked up a 6-1, 6-1 triumph over the Pirates’ Tucker Ditchfield.

“I told both Alan and Evan after the match how much I loved seeing the fight in them,” Ottawa coach Matt Gross said. “We had talked before the match about making Andrew and Danny beat them and not beating themselves. It was a very good match, and in the end those L-P guys made a few more winning shots when they needed to. It’s a match that Alan and Evan really wanted to win, but even with the loss, really at times showed they can play very good tennis. Hopefully it’s a confidence-builder for the conference meet and postseason for those guys.

“Ayden Sexton was able to play doubles today, and he’s wanted to do that all season, but it hasn’t been in the cards. But today he got a shot with Kaden, and they both played a pretty solid match, especially in the second set.”

Ottawa hosts Streator on Tuesday, while L-P is off until the Cavs host the I-8 Tournament on Saturday.

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