ROCHELLE — Wednesday marked the first time in three seasons that the Rochelle Hub varsity tennis team was able to celebrate Senior Night. From zero seniors on the roster last year to the COVID-19 pandemic two years ago, Rochelle’s seniors have come a long way since 2019.
That growth was showcased during Wednesday’s match against Harlem, where the Hubs swept all three doubles points and split the singles points to secure a 4-1 win over the Huskies. It’s the eighth consecutive victory for the Hubs (10-1, 4-0 Interstate 8), who’re enjoying one of the best starts to a season in RTHS history. Four seniors were recognized by head coach Kristy Eckardt before the match including Peter Forsberg, Alex Gilbert, Devansh Patel and Jason Zheng.
“It was a great day for our team and we had great support from our families,” Eckardt said. “I think our players have a lot of confidence in themselves right now and they’ve put in the work. We had a lot of players come out during the summer and even during the winter at the recreation center. I think the kids knew they had an opportunity to make some noise this year.”
Junior John Green and Forsberg conceded only one game in their 6-0, 6-1 win over Cameron Totz and Aiden Harris on the No. 2 doubles court. Rochelle’s two other doubles combos lost only two games each, with juniors David Wanner and Owen Haas teaming up for a 6-0, 6-2 victory over Logan Lawson and Ben Leese at the No. 1 doubles court while junior Nolan Fonfara and Patel downed Shawn Austin and Brayden Hawn 6-1, 6-1 on the No. 3 doubles court.
Both singles matches went to three sets, with Zheng rallying to outlast Benis Crnovrsanin 1-6, 7-5, 10-5 on the No. 2 singles court and Gilbert falling just short in a 1-6, 7-6(5), 4-10 loss to Ayden Mabrey at the No. 1 singles court. The Hubs are looking to stay hot for the Interstate 8 Conference Championship meet and the IHSA 1A Rochelle Sectional, which will both be hosted at RTHS. The Hubs have not won a conference title since 1949 or a sectional since 1973.
“Our kids are continuing to come through when they need to,” Eckardt said. “I think we’re right there in terms of having an opportunity to win the conference title this year, especially since we’ll receive a boost with our dual-meet wins. But we have some of our toughest matches of the season over these last two weeks, so it’ll be good for us to be peaking when we need to peak.”