The Fenwick boys tennis team enjoyed a stellar 2012 season highlighted by the placement of three qualifiers in the state tournament, an 8-1 record in the Chicago Catholic League along with a runner-up finish at the CCL Tournament.
While the Friars enter this season only returning two of their top six players from last year, coach Gerard Sullivan believes the considerable roster transition should run smoothly.
"We had a lot of depth last year," Sullivan said. "Our returning players are filling the top positions well."
The Friars' lone returning state qualifier is senior Jack Ryan. He's an experienced player with multiple state tournament wins who will anchor the Friars' top doubles team.
Joining Ryan at No. 1 doubles is promising sophomore Colin Fitzpatrick. Coming off a superb debut campaign, in which he placed third in singles within conference and also advanced to the state-qualifying round of the sectional in doubles, Fitzpatrick will also play some No. 1 singles this spring.
Three-year varsity player Jack Carey moves up a spot from No. 3 to No. 2 in singles, while juniors Nick Sagastume and David Prabhu are vying for the No. 3 singles position. They logged plenty of match experience as the Friars' top two singles players on last year's sophomore squad.
Returning varsity players Josh Burda, Phil Cozzi and Kyle Johnson are also key doubles players for Fenwick. First-year varsity senior Alexis Arias and George Krug along with juniors Mike Donohue and Kevin Eicken provide Sullivan other options in the lineup.
Loyola, St. Ignatius, Fenwick and Providence project as the top teams in the CCL.
"Loyola and St. Ignatius are the teams to beat again this year," Sullivan said. "We were able to take both down teams last year, but that will be a tall order this season with both of the teams in maroon bringing back their top players."
Fenwick has already notched some solid performances and notable wins this spring.
The Friars finished fifth at the Oak Park Rudy Witsman Invitational on Saturday. The No. 2 doubles team of Prabhu-Mike Doherty notched victories over Marist and Leyden to earn a third-place medal. Fitzpatrick took fourth in No. 1 singles, highlighted by a 6-4, 4-6, 7-5 win over OPRF's Declan Siefkas in first round action.
Oak Park won the event with 48 points while Fenwick tallied 22 to finish in the middle of the pack.
The Friars defeated St. Rita 4-1 and also won three of five matches in dual meets played at Springfield and Belleville earlier this spring.
Fenwick cruised past Springfield Sacred Heart Griffin 11-1 and offered some clutch tennis by winning 4-of-5 tiebreakers.
The Friars also finished in sixth place out of 16 teams at the Triad Knights Invitational. Fenwick split four duals, earning victories over Quincy 3-2 and Hinsdale 3-2 South but losing to Belleville East and Alton.
Fenwick edged Quincy with wins from Fitzpatrick 7-5, 6-3 and Carey 6-2, 6-3 at No. 1 and No. 2 singles, respectively, along with No. 3 doubles Burda-Krug's 6-1, 6-0 win.