ROCHELLE — Juan Montemayor and Hector Garcia saw their 5-3 lead in the first set of No. 1 doubles action against DeKalb slip away Thursday evening, but the Rochelle juniors battled back to claim what would ultimately be the deciding match between the Hubs and Barbs in Northern Illinois Big 12 play.
DeKalb’s Noah Wilson and Ali Thahab rallied for three consecutive points to take a 6-5 lead over Montemayor and Garcia at No. 1 doubles, but the Hub tennis players rebounded with two points of their own including a tiebreaker to claim the first set. Montemayor and Garcia carried their positive momentum into the second set, and the boys cruised to a two-set victory by a score of 7-6(4), 6-2.
“We played pretty well even though we made a couple of mistakes,” Garcia said. “I need to work on my serves so we can play better against the top opponents in our conference and hopefully make it to state… I hope we go on a winning streak and we never lose again.”
Montemayor and Garcia’s victory lifted Rochelle over DeKalb by a final score of 3-2. The Hubs are now 2-2 on the season after Rochelle defeated Belvidere North 4-3 earlier this spring. Senior Noah Griffith put away DeKalb’s Justin Le by a score of 6-0, 6-2 at No. 1 singles to net Rochelle’s first match point, and Hub senior Kevin Zheng topped DeKalb’s Emrys Draper 6-2, 6-2 for his first win of the season.
“We could’ve done better but it felt good to get the victory,” Montemayor said. “I didn’t even know that was the deciding match, but winning made a big difference for us and I think pulling through is a really important part of the game. I think we’re very proud of being able to take that last match.”
Trailing 2-0, DeKalb took its first match of the day when Chris Hartness and Brendan Szostak defeated Hub sophomores James Doering and Sean Flanagan 6-1, 6-2 at No. 3 doubles. The Barbs tied the match at 2-2 after Paul Anderson and Andrue Heather took down Rochelle senior Jesus Nava and junior Emilio Nava in a close two-set match (6-4, 7-5) at No. 2 doubles.
But Montemayor and Garcia sealed Rochelle’s victory with a win in the fifth and final varsity match. The Hubs will return to action when they face Sterling at home on Tuesday, April 17 at 4:30 p.m. Armed with more experience this season, Montemayor and Garcia are aiming to become one of the NIB-12’s top doubles combos, and they’re eyeing more team success as well.
“It’s all up to us,” Montemayor said. “Our doubles teams have goals and our singles players have goals, but overall I think we’re all trying to be the best we can be, and we’re trying to get as many wins as we can.”