Players to watch: Kevin Zych, Sr.
Outlook: Kelly Place, the Warriors girls coach, takes over the boys program at Crete-Monee, and she’s still assessing the talent level of the team. Place was also had been out of town on a family emergency which has slowed the process. She said that the Zych is definitely a top-level player and will assume the No. 1 singles spot, moving up from No. 2 last year. For the rest of the team it’s going to be a learning process.
Quote: “We’re a young team. It’s going to be a tough couple of years.” !~ Place.
Players to watch: Alex Eng, Sr.; Danny Kopas, Sr.; Jeremy Miller, Jr.; Jacob Miguest, Jr.
Outlook: The Vikings' top-four players all played on varsity and are back to assume their new roles. Miller will take over at No. 1 singles, while Eng and Kopas will be at one doubles. H-F will reload at the other positions with some talented players.
Quote: “We have strength at the top, and I’m very happy with our depth. We’re going to have to have some guys step up and play some challenging positions. I’m happy with positions 5 through 11.” !~ coach Michael Sacks
Players to watch: Kent Pitsenberger, Jr.; Ben VanTil, Jr.; Reuben Huizenga, Sr.; James Zandstra, Fr.
Outlook: Illiana lost a lot to graduation, and Neil Zandstra is back as head coach after a five-year hiatus. He’s excited about coaching again and said the goals are to finish in the top half of the conference and finish above .500 on the season.
Quote: “We’ve got some good juniors and a good freshman. We’re going to be a good team, and we’ll rebuild nicely. They’ll do a good job replacing the kids we lost.” !~ Zandstra
Players to watch: Kyle Scheffers, Jr.; Tim LaVelle Sr.; Justin Matticz, Sr.; Patrick Murday, Jr.
Outlook: The Spartans will be hard pressed to duplicate the accomplishments of the past two seasons that saw Marian finish eighth in the state last year and won back-to-back sectionals. The Spartans have a solid core of veterans who will work hard to get better and have set a goal to finish in the top half of the ESCC.
Quote: “I don’t think our goal is to duplicate the past two years. We have some talent, but it’s raw talent. We’ll be OK. Our goal is to fill out the positions and be competitive.” !~ coach Scott Bodnar
Players to watch: Robert Rajic, So.; Phillip Harmon, Sr.; Derrick Davis, So.; Alex Ceballos, So.
Outlook: Rajic, who finished third in the Chicago Catholic League at No. 1 frosh singles, will step into varsity No. 1 singles to lead the Caravan, while Harmon will fill the No. 2 spot. It will be an inexperienced Caravan with half their squad having not played competitive tennis before.
Quote: “We are young and have not been able to practice much because of weather, despite this, we are looking forward to a good campaign.” !~ coach Antonio Mora
Players to watch: Dennis Minefee, Sr.; Gerardo Gomez, Sr.; Manny Cruz, So.; Edward Dumphrey, So.; Julio Sanchez, Sr.
Outlook: Thornton Fractional will be strong in singles with the veteran Gomez and the up-and-comer Cruz in the top two spots. They have good depth, but it’s just a matter of how well the young players fill the holes. The team goal is to make it downstate like the girls team did in the fall.
Quote: “This is the seniors last hurrah. They want to go downstate. The girls got their picture on the wall of fame, and the boys want their picture on the wall.” !~ coach Clinton Scott
Players to watch: Jujuan Page, Sr; Adrian Perez, Sr.; Antonio Sandoval, Sr.; Angel Santana, Sr.
Outlook: First-year coach Imani James, who has coached the girls, will look to her seniors to lead the way for Thornton. All four played varsity positions last year and will likely fill the top singles and doubles positions. James is still getting to know the players, as the weather has kept the team from getting outside on the courts.
Quote: “I’m very excited and so is assistant coach Monica Dawson. It’s really been a pleasure and I’m really looking forward to the season.” !~ James
-- Compiled by Christopher Breach