Just two and half weeks into the season, the Fenwick tennis team is already one step closer to bettering last year’s second place mark in the Chicago Catholic League.
The Friars took advantage of two key absences in their opponent’s lineup on March 28 and came away with a 4-3 victory over Loyola, last season’s defending league champ and this season’s favorite.
“[Loyola] was without two of their big guns who were testing, but it’s still considered a major victory for us,” said Fenwick head coach Gerard Sullivan.
Fenwick, who finished second in the CCL last year and who kicked off the season with a 5-0 romp of De La Salle on March 23, returns four seniors in Joe Campagna, Marty Duggan, Rob Janda and Tom Besio. Duggan and Campagna have IHSA State Meet experience?#34;both competed at the tournament last season.
Campagna defeated his Loyola opponent 6-1, 6-1 to win No. 2 singles. Besio and junior Owen Pelzer won 6-4, 7-5 at No. 2 doubles, while Janda paired with junior Mike Reany to win No. 1 doubles 6-4, 6-2.
Sullivan said he’s pleased with the versatility of his players this season. Campagna and Duggan are actually trading off at the No. 1 singles spot.
“These guys want to win as a team,” said Sullivan, “and they’ll do anything for that to happen. They both like the pressure at playing No. 1, so that’s a good thing. Sharing the time is great, in my opinion, because it will only make them compete harder.”
Duggan is slated to compete at No. 1 singles during conference matches, while Campagna will take the reigns against non-conference opponents. Depending on the match, either Duggan or Campagna will join with Janda at No. 1 doubles.
Fenwick also has a solid lineup in Charlie Wilkie, George Navrogenes, Deming Payne, and Matt O’Brien.
The goal right now, according to Sullivan, is the league crown.
“We’ve got our eyes on finishing first in the league,” he said. “And then we’ll move on to getting through the sectional and hopefully sending some guys to state.”
Fenwick last won the CCL in 1997.
The Friars competed at OPRF’s Rudy Witsman Invitational in Oak Park on Saturday, albeit with a skeleton crew. Most of the players were testing. The Friars finished fifth with a score of 22.
The entire team will be at full strength, Sullivan said, when the Friars travel to Mt. Carmel on Thursday.
“We’re really looking to make some strides this season,” said Sullivan.