The O’Fallon High boys’ tennis team wrapped up their 2016 regular season this past week and will plunge into Illinois High School Association (IHSA) post-season play this weekend in the Triad Sectional.
In preparation for state series competition, Coach Erin Thoman’s squad finished with a flourish in dual meet action, defeating Belleville West and Granite City in their final two matches to complete a stellar 16-4 season.
Their final flurry of action was tempered a bit with a third place finish in the Southwestern Conference tournament, but Thoman was upbeat about her squad’s chances when they travel to Triad later this week.
“Our players are competing at a pretty high level right now,” Thoman said. “We were able to get a big win over Belleville East in conference play and turned in solid performances in the SWC tourney, although we would like to have finished higher as a team. Only three points separated the second place squad from the fourth place team, so we were in the hunt for the second place spot. Our No. 4, 5 and 6 singles players made it into the finals, but we couldn’t quite get over the hump.”
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Edwardsville continued their domination as the league’s top team, scoring 70 points to second place Belleville West’s 56. The Panther netters were only one point behind Belleville West with Belleville East finishing fourth with 53 points.
The bulk of the Panther scoring came in singles competition with three second place.
Niko Papchrisanthou defeated opponents from Granite City and Edwardsville to take second at No. 4 singles.
Prem Patel at No. 5 singles and Quincy Dollison at #6 singles were able to duplicate the feat. Dominic Malacuso (#1) and Riley Muren (#2) placed third in their respective divisions with senior Shree Patel finishing in fourth at No. 3.
Last Thursday, the OTHS squad scored a big win over rival Belleville East 5-4. The Panthers won five of the six singles matches to fuel the victory. Dominic Malacuso, Riley Muren, Niko Papachrisanthou, Prem Patel and Quincy Dollison were all victorious. Only Riley
Muren’s match was extended into a third set tie-breaker. Belleville East rallied in the doubles portion of the match, sweeping to three straight wins; however, the Panthers’ singles advantage was too much for the Lancers to overcome.
The Panther netters ended their regular season with a smashing 9-0 victory over Granite City to finish in a second place tie with Belleville West in the final SWC standings. Only a loss to champion Edwardsville marred the OTHS netters’ league record for 2016.
IHSA sectional play is scheduled to begin this Friday at Triad with the finals set for Saturday.
Thoman is hopeful that her charges will score their second straight sectional title when they compete in a field which will include host Triad, Collinsville, Flora, Granite City, Greeenville, Highland and Hillsboro.