Boys Tennis: Carmel’s Butler, Hunt serve up doubles crown
Mundelein's Jake Cigelink returns the ball while playing in the NSC tennis meet on Saturday at the NSC Meet. | Dan Luedert~Sun-Times Media
Updated: June 18, 2012 8:27AM
The Butler didn’t do it.
Didn’t play singles at the ESCC boys tennis meet this year, that is.
But Carmel Catholic senior Geoff Butler did team up with junior Bryan Hunt to capture the rain-interrupted conference meet title at No. 1 doubles at Marian Catholic on Monday.
Butler was named ESCC Singles Player of the Year in 2011.
Butler and Hunt — seeded third in their flight — routed second-seeded Kyle Scheffers/Mitch Zavesky of Marian 6-2, 6-2 in a semifinal on Saturday, and conquered top-seeded Bobby Mitchell/Matt Rurka of Benet Academy 6-3, 7-6 in Monday’s final.
“We didn’t do what were supposed to do, based on seeding, in only one of the five flights at the meet,” said Carmel coach Nancy Fehn. “And that one was at No. 1 doubles — we bettered our seed there.”
Benet (69 points) was only one point better than Carmel in winning the overall ESCC title. The final team standings were based on regular-season matches won in conference dual meets, and points earned at the ESCC meet. Carmel (68 points) won 33 matches in conference action and tallied 35 points at the meet; Benet also scored 35 points at the meet but won 34 dual matches.
Freshman No. 2 singles player Kevin Hunt returned home as Carmel’s other ESCC meet champion. Seeded first, Hunt skipped to a 6-2, 6-0 defeat of Benet’s Andrew Caniglia in the final after dropping a combined two games in his first two matches.
Brandon Dechter, another Carmel freshman, placed third at No. 1 singles. He beat Benet’s Noah Read 6-4, 6-2 in the match for third place.
Dechter likes to wear out opponents from the baseline, while Kevin Hunt earns points in a variety of ways.
“Kevin doesn’t have a set recipe when he plays,” Fehn said. “But he certainly likes to serve and volley at times, and take advantage of the short ball.”
Carmel’s second-seeded team at No. 2 doubles, R.J. Paulson/Stephen Feely, lost a final to top-seeded Grant Gatto/Matt Garvin of Benet 3-6, 6-2, 6-2. Corsairs Alex Reid and Mick Wimmer took third at No. 3 doubles.
“My players, all of them, played with intensity,” Fehn said. “They all had that fire in the belly. If they wanted something, they usually got it. Each worked hard and stayed tough mentally.”
The Mustangs placed seventh (12 points) in the NSC conference meet at Vernon Hills. Senior Ryan Jump lost a quarterfinal at No. 1 singles to eventual third-place finisher Ismail Kadyrov of Vernon Hills 7-5, 6-3. At No. 2 singles, Mundelein junior Jake Cigelnik won a first-round match, and reached the semifinals of the backdraw.
On the schedule:
Carmel vies for State berths at the highly competitive Deerfield Sectional, beginning Friday afternoon. Other teams in the field included Highland Park, Lake Forest, Mundelein and St. Viator.
Four singles players and four doubles teams advance to State from each sectional. The doubles segment at Deerfield should feature plenty of taut battles — before the semifinals.
“Eight doubles teams in our sectional are good enough to play at State,” said HP coach Steve Rudman, referring to two each from Deerfield, Lake Forest, HP and one tandem from both Carmel and St. Viator. “That’s crazy, unfortunate. There was no reason for so many good teams to be jammed in one sectional.”
Added Deerfield coach Josh Leighton: “Yes, there will be eight legit doubles at the sectional, all capable of winning at least two rounds in the front draw of the state meet.”
The likely top-seeded doubles team will be HP’s Zacko Brint/Danny Wynbrandt. Brint and Andrew Zessar won the No. 1 doubles championship at the CSL North meet, while Wynbrandt was out of town because of a family commitment.