BELLEVILLE — After breezing to a third straight title at the Belleville East Invitational on Saturday, East boys tennis coach Dan Skaer wasn't wasting any time in looking ahead.
Undefeated in Southwestern Conference play, East will host another unbeaten SWC team -- Edwardsville -- beginning at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, with the regular season SWC title on the line.
"Anything can happen, but I would still have to rate them as a heavy favorite,'' Skaer said of the Tigers. "We're playing well right now and the players are playing with a lot of confidence.''
That confidence got another boost Saturday, as the Lancers completed two days of domination by winning four of six singles divisions and sprinting to a 18-point win over runner-up Alton in the 16-team event at East High School.
Putting a fitting end to an outstanding weekend, the Lancers Chase Stumne defeated Carl Stradel of Alton in the No. 2 singles final to lead the way for East, which finished with 68 points. Alton (50 points), Normal (41), Peoria Richwoods (38) and O'Fallon (34) closed out the top six teams.
Kobi Phillips defeated CT Coster of Peoria Richwoods 6-4, 6-1 in the No. 3 singles final, while Jacob Hamilton (No. 4) and Joseph Jones (No. 5) also were champions.
Jones, moving up a spot from his regular No. 6 singles position, defeated Matt Lloyd of O'Fallon 6-3, 6-1 in his final.
"I don't know if coming into the tournament I felt we were going to win it. I did think we would play well, because we played so well last week at Moline (Invitational) and we still haven't peaked yet. There are still some things work on. We can still play better,'' Skaer said. "It's great to be able to come on your home courts and play well and we're very happy to win three in a row here.
"The big difference this year was that everybody who played this weekend did a really good job. In previous years, we would have at least one player who would lose in the first round. That didn't happen this year.''
East grabbed command Friday by winning two of three doubles divisions.
Stumne and Hamilton defeated Cole Henke and Cole Lewis of Belleville West 6-2, 3-6, 6-4 in the No. 1 division final.
Trailing 4-3 in the final set, Stumne and Hamilton won the final three game to take the match.
East also won the No. 2 doubles final, as Aaron Skaer and Kobi Phillips defeated Sebastian Lescole and Cam McElroy of Carbondale 6-4, 6-2.
A foreign-exchange student from France, Lescole defeated Ben Urshan of Centralia 6-1, 6-0 to win the No. 1 singles division.
Alton's Kain Henson and Adam Rauckmann won the No. 3 doubles division.