ROCHELLE — Singles success allowed the Rochelle Hub varsity tennis team to remain unbeaten in the Interstate 8 Conference with a 3-2 home win against LaSalle-Peru.
The Cavaliers claimed two of the three doubles points, but the Hubs swept both singles matches to secure the team victory and extend their winning streak to six consecutive matches. Senior Alex Gilbert delivered a 6-0, 6-1 victory over Riley O’Brien on the No. 1 singles court, while senior Jason Zheng cruised over Adam Kasperski 6-1, 6-2 at the No. 2 singles court.
“I thought that win was a big confidence booster for me,” Gilbert said. “I’ve been in a lot of tough conference matches this season and I think I’m capable of making a run at the conference tournament. I think my serves have improved a lot and my forehands have become a lot faster. My backhands have improved and I think I’m a lot more consistent. We’re the most confident we’ve ever been as a team and I think we’re capable of winning the conference tournament.”
LaSalle-Peru rallied for a win on the No. 2 doubles court, where Traeger Abens and Ethan Picco outlasted Rochelle senior Peter Forsberg and junior John Green 7-5, 6-2. The Cavaliers took a hard-fought match at the No. 1 doubles court, with Joe Pohar and Andrew Bollis securing a three-set victory over Rochelle juniors David Wanner and Owen Haas 6-2, 4-6, 11-9.
The Hubs came through on the No. 3 doubles court, where junior Nolan Fonfara and senior Devansh Patel battled for a 6-4, 3-6, 10-4 win over Luke Buck and Elijah Arthurs. Rochelle (8-1, 4-0 Interstate 8) will host a nonconference match against Sterling on Thursday at 4:30 p.m.
“Winning that tiebreaker was a huge confidence booster and it was a relief knowing that we didn’t have to sweep all three doubles matches to win the meet,” Fonfara said. “I think we have much more experience this season and I think we’re much more prepared this season. We know what to expect when we take the court and I want to win the conference really badly.”