Goss: Court coverage key for Shea-Carney duo
May 23, 2012 9:08PM
Joliet West co-op's (left) Collin Shea and Jack Carney. | Larry Kane~For Sun-Times Media
Boys State Tennis
When: Thursday through Saturday. Hersey High School is the host site.
Joliet Catholic: Doubles, Ian Baar (Sr.)-Austin Naal, Sr.; Zach Siegfried (Jr.)-Nate Naal, (Soph.).
Joliet West co-op: Single, Tom Carney (Fr.); Doubles, Collin Shea (Sr.)-Jack Carney (Jr.).
Lemont: Singles, Nick Urban (Fr.); Doubles, Jonathan Pacheco (Sr.)-Alex Vasic (Jr.).
Lincoln-Way Central: Singles, Len Madoch (Sr.); Doubles, Ryan Champlin (Soph).-Justin Weigal (Jr.).
Lincoln-Way East: Doubles, Ty Scaletta (Jr.)-Dan Cesario (Sr.); Tom Emola (Soph.)-Steve Adamitus (Sr.).
Lockport: Singles, Lucas Randall (Jr.).
Plainfield South: Singles, Austin Russell (Soph.).
Providence: Singles, James Zeeman (Jr.).
Updated: July 2, 2012 9:41AM
When Joliet West co-op senior Collin Shea and junior Jack Carney take the court beginning Thursday in the Boys State Tennis Tournament at Arlington Heights and other nearby suburbs, they will combine for about 12 feet, 8 inches of vertical coverage with corresponding wingspans.
That dimension is not lost on their opponents.
“They are so big you can’t really use the lob on them,” Lemont senior Jonathan Pacheco said. “One step and they cover the whole court.”
Pacheco and junior partner Alex Vasic lost to Shea and Carney 6-3, 6-2 in Saturday’s championship match of the Joliet West Sectional. Coupled with freshman Tom Carney’s three-set victory over Lemont freshman Nick Urban in the singles final, that helped the Tigers claim their second consecutive sectional crown by two points over the Indians.
“We gave it all we’ve got,” said Pacheco, who will continue his career at University of St. Francis. “We played them before and got smoked 6-0, 6-0. We came out this time and had a lot of adrenaline going. But when they keep pounding serves at us like that, it gets to us.”
Shea and Carney (28-1) are among the 17-32 seeds at state and are the only seeded entries among 13 area qualifiers. The six qualifiers in singles and seven in doubles, including the Lincoln-Way East Sectional championship duo of junior Ty Scaletta and senior Dan Cesario, are listed in the accompanying chart.
“In the past, we would have been happy with this,” Shea said of the sectional doubles title. “But this is a stepping stone. We want bigger and better this year.
“Our goal (at state) is to win two rounds for sure. After that, it will be tougher. But we have the potential to win three or four rounds if we play well.”
Carney won the sectional singles title the past two years and Shea is making his third trip to state, the second time in doubles.
“We’re both singles players, but I’m glad we played doubles together this year,” Carney said. “Playing doubles helps our singles game. In doubles, you have to finish points off.”
What makes the pair click?
“I have a lot of confidence in my serve,” Carney said. “We build momentum on my serve. I like to set up Collin. He is one of the best I’ve seen at putting points away. I always have a lot of confidence in him.”
Meanwhile, Lemont’s runner-up duo (23-4) also may be heard from at state. Pacheco earned a top-32 finish in singles last year, so an experience factor is on their side.
“I never was a doubles person, but it is fun with him,” Pacheco said, nodding toward Vasic. “How we do at state will depend on the draw. We’ll go in with guns blazing and do our best.”
It will be interesting to see how the freshmen, Tom Carney and Urban, fare.
Carney won the first set 6-2 but trailed 5-2 in the second set of his semifinal against Providence junior James Zeeman. He faced match point twice, yet pulled out a 7-5 victory to advance to the title match.
Then, after winning the first set 6-1, he lost the second to Urban 6-4. Urban had beaten him in a third-set tiebreaker in a previous meeting and seemed to have momentum this time. Again, Carney battled through and prevailed, clinching the sectional for the Tigers.
“The match against (Zeeman) took a lot out of Tom,” West co-op coach Kit Gillman said. “That could have put the odds in Lemont’s favor. There was a lot of pressure on Tom.
“He’s a winner. All these kids I have this year are winners. When you have teams this good, what I do is not even called coaching. We plan to go to state and play the best we can until someone comes along who is better than us.”
Zeeman then lost his third-place match 6-2, 6-0 to Lockport junior Lucas Randall, who had qualified for state in doubles the previous two years.
Joliet Catholic also made a strong sectional showing at West, qualifying two doubles teams and finishing third in the team standings. The Hilltoppers’ No. 1 duo of seniors Ian Barr and Austin Naal, the 2011 sectional champs who will be making their fourth straight state appearance, beat junior Zach Siegfried and sophomore Nate Naal, Austin’s brother, 6-3, 6-3 for third place.
“They’ve been good leaders for us,” Joliet Catholic coach Scott Allgood said of Barr and Austin Naal, who challenged Shea and Jack Carney before dropping a 6-3, 6-3 semifinal.
“We’re really looking forward to going back to state,” Barr said. “It’s been our main goal the whole year.”
The Ziegfried-Nate Naal duo, meanwhile, entered as the fifth seed and played their way into the semifinals when they beat Joliet West’s Andrew Drummond and Chris Zuniga 6-4, 6-3 in the quarterfinals.