Boys Tennis: Nick Urban, Lemont have high hopes
By Jeff Vorva For Sun-Times Media March 15, 2013 11:30PM
Lemont's Nick Urban. | File photo
Boys Tennis 2013
FIVE TEAMS TO WATCH
Joliet Catholic: Breakout year for Hillmen?
Joliet West: Carney brothers are double trouble for opponents.
Lemont: Perennial South Suburban Blue champ aims to make noise at state.
Lockport: Could make noise in sectional if a doubles team develops.
Plainfield South: Can Austin Russell lead the team to a big finish?
FIVE INDIVIDUALS TO WATCH
Tom Carney, Joliet West: A sectional champion who beat Nick Urban in three sets.
Jack Carney, Joliet West: Made it to fifth round of consolation as a doubles player.
Lucas Randall, Lockport: Heading to University of St. Francis next season.
Austin Russell, Plainfield South: A threat for a top-16 finish in the state.
Nick Urban, Lemont: A sophomore who made it to the final 32 as a freshman.
Updated: April 18, 2013 6:45AM
Talk about an Urban legend.
In 2009, Jessica Urban finished her high school tennis career at Lemont with a 101-20 record. At the time, school officials deemed her the most successful tennis player — male or female — in school history.
In fall 2011, someone who might have a chance to beat her mark walked into the school.
Urban’s younger brother, Nick, opened his high school career in 2012 by going 33-4 and making it to the top 32 in the state tournament as a freshman. Even though he lost to another freshman sensation — Joliet West’s Tom Carney — in the sectional final, Urban and Plainfield South’s Austin Miller made it further than any other Joliet-area player in the state finals. Urban is just the second boys player in Lemont history to finish in the top 32.
Growing up playing tennis against Jessica, who’s playing tennis at Winona State, Nick took some lumps.
Has he ever gotten to the point where he’s gotten the better of her?
“Not that she would like to admit. Leave it at that,” he said with a laugh.
As the 2013 season opens, the Indians sophomore is not thinking of breaking any family or Lemont records, but he is at a pace to go 132-16 and to help keep his team on top of the South Suburban Blue. In 2012, the Indians went 19-1 and won their sixth straight conference crown.
Coach John DeGuzman is not letting Urban or the rest of the team rest on laurels. He beefed up the schedule to include the Lincoln-Way East quadrangular on March 30, the Joliet Invitational on April 20 (in which DeGuzman said his squad will face several potential sectional opponents) and the 24-team Lincoln-Way East Invitational on April 27. DeGuzman said the latter tournament is stacked with some of the top talent in the state.
Seniors Jake Smagacz and Alex Vasic and sophomore Nathaniel Burner are battle-tested in sectional play. Vasic has state experience as a doubles player.
Urban’s introduction to the state finals wasn’t all that memorable as he opened on the Rolling Meadows High School courts.
“It was 95 degrees and dust was blowing everywhere,” he said. “It was extremely hot.’’
Urban opened the tournament losing 6-7, 6-0, 6-1 to Lyons’ Jake Elliott. Urban thrived in the consolation rounds, peeling off wins over Marion’s Pablo Cuartas, Glenbard North’s Matt Krzyaniak and Payton’s Darrell Robbins before he was stopped by Rockford Auburn’s Brandon Metzler.
Urban said he’s been playing the sport as long as he can remember. He competed in his first tournament on his eighth birthday.
He won it.
“That’s when I knew it was going to be OK,” he said.
Vasic teamed with Jonathan Pacheco at the state finals and suffered a 6-1, 6-0 setback to Morton’s Trent Reiman and Grant Reiman. The Indians duo beat Danville’s Tyler Ellis and Local Nelson, 6-4, 6-3, but was bounced out of the tournament after a 5-7, 6-4, 6-3 setback to Benet’s Bobby Martin and Matt Rurka to finish the season 29-6.