ROCK ISLAND — Poor weather has prevented the Rochelle varsity boys tennis program from playing the Rock Island Invitational over the last few years, but the skies were clear when the Hubs took the court this past weekend.
Rochelle competed against three other schools at the tournament, dropping three dual matches to drop to 0-3 overall to start the 2019 season. The Hubs fell 5-0 against Moline before losing 4-1 to United Township and dropping their finale 4-1 against Harlem.
Rochelle senior Emilio Nava fell 0-6, 1-6 against Bhanu Pujari at No. 1 singles, while senior Hector Garcia lost 3-6, 4-6 to Aidan Perry at No. 2 singles. Rochelle junior Sean Flanagan and freshman Jason Zheng fell 0-6, 1-6 at No. 1 doubles to Dylan Wiemers and Dylan Schueneman.
Rochelle seniors Alex Galambos and Diego Lopez lost 1-6, 3-6 to Thomas McCormick and Collin Meyer at No. 2 doubles, and Moline competed the sweep with a victory at No. 3 doubles. Omar Babu and Phillip Pham topped Rochelle junior Gabe Nava and freshman Alex Gilbert 6-1, 6-2.
“I was happy with how we performed,” head coach Kristy Eckardt said. “We’re never really sure how we’re going to react or how we’re going to stack up against other teams during our first matches of the season. I was impressed with how we played. Nobody was really nervous, and we had a couple of new players in our lineup as well.”
Bennett Downey defeated Rochelle’s Sean Flanagan 6-0, 6-1 at No. 1 singles while Adam Lear topped Rochelle’s Alex Gilbert 6-0, 6-0 at No. 2 singles. Hector Garcia and Emilio Nava teamed up to score Rochelle’s first point of the season, winning 6-2, 6-2 at No. 1 doubles over Jacob Wood and Marcus Lang.
Tristen Wamsley and Noel Alonzo beat Rochelle’s Diego Lopez and Gabe Nava 6-1, 6-0 at No. 2 doubles. Kanon White and Evan Potter topped Rochelle’s Jason Zheng and Alex Galambos 6-3, 6-4 at No. 3 doubles.
“Hector and Emilio were really solid and really comfortable on the court,” Eckardt said. “They played a smart doubles match. They attacked the net, which has been something we’ve tried to teach over the last few years. They looked comfortable playing together and they looked confident.”
Joey Leese defeated Rochelle’s Sean Flanagan 6-3, 6-3 at No. 1 singles, and Maxwell Fox topped Rochelle’s Jason Zheng in three sets at No. 1 singles, winning 6-4, 0-6, 10-7. Lucas Crane and Anthony Buffington beat Rochelle’s Hector Garcia and Emilio Nava 6-0, 6-1 at No. 1 doubles.
Recil Hensley and Marco Jancovich won 8-3 over Rochelle’s Alex Galambos and Gabe Nava at No. 2 doubles. The Hubs scored at No. 3 doubles, with Diego Lopez and Alex Gilbert defeating Collin Myer and Kyrin Lindquist 6-2, 6-7(4), 11-9.
“That was a really fun match since they won the first match so easily and they struggled in the second set,” Eckardt said. “They hung in and battled during the third-set tiebreaker. Alex was really solid and he didn’t get overly nervous when things weren’t going their way.”