Tiger netmen begin quest to state tourney

News-DemocratMay 28, 2014 

The ultimate competitor, Edwardsville tennis coach David Lipe has led his team to consecutive top 10 finishes at the IHSA State Tournament the last two years.

But now, after leading his team to one of the most dominating seasons in recent metro-east tennis history this spring, Lipe hopes this is the year his Tigers bring home some hardware from the state tournament.

That quest begins on Thursday at 8 a.m. when action in the 2014 state tournament begins at sites throughout the Chicago suburban area.

"This will be a fun weekend. I want it to be one where the boys can look back at it 10 years from now, with good memories,'' Lipe said. "We've had a great year and for these four seniors, this weekend is the culmination of three years of hard work. This is what its all about.

"I think if we go out and do our best this weekend and the kids continue to play like they have all year, then we have a chance to do well. If you do the right things the results usually take care of themselves."

Seeded in the top four in doubles, the combination of Jack Desse and Logan Ware will lead the way for Edwardsville. Sectional champions, Ware and Desse have been one of the dominant tandems in the state this season.

The Tigers No. 2 doubles team of Zach Bryant and Jonathan Koons are in the top 32 while singles player Brandon Harris is a top 16 seed.

Two other local entries also were awarded seeds. Sectional champions Jacob Hamilton and Chase Stumne, of Belleville East, are seeded in the top 16, while the Belleville West tandem of Cole Lewis and Cole Henke are seeded in the top 32.

But most of the attention for teams from the metro-east will center around Edwardsville.

"The favorites are Hinsdale Central and Lake Forest along with Stevenson," Lipe said. "There are probably five or six teams in the running for that third position with Stevenson as the leader of that group.

"The seeds are nice and if you are a high enough seed you're going to be protected from playing a seeded team for a couple of rounds. But you are going to play very good teams sooner or later anyway."

Also looking for a second straight top 10 finish is Belleville East. The Lancers finished ninth in state a mere year ago.

Hamilton and Stumne will lead the way for East, which lost only two matches and won five tournament championships during the regular season.

"The goal is another top 10 finish,'' East coach Dan Skaer said. "We've had a great year and I'm just hoping we go up and continue to play like we have and like we can.

"Chase and Jacob are in a good spot to win their first two matches, then they'll face a seeded team in the round of 32.''

Skaer's son Aaron Skaer is playing well after winning the title at the Belleville East Sectional last week and may be one of the more dangerous unseeded players in the 128-player field.

Other top hopes in area singles players include Michael Lesko of Gibault, Kobi Phillips of Belleville East and Erik Weiler of Edwardsville.

Doubles teams who could win a match or two in the main draw include Spencer Smith and Nick Spitze, of Belleville East; Joey Bartholomew and Brendan Skinner, of Althoff; and Nikhil Shekar and Shree Patel, of O'Fallon.

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