Boys Tennis: Glenbrook South’s McCanna, Lyon learn from state’s top teamSchaumburg Saturday 5-19-12
Glenbrook South's Will Lyon returns a shot during doubles sectional semifinal match at Schaumburg HS Saturday morning 5-19-12. | Kevin Tanaka~for Sun-Times Media.
At the mid-point of this season, Glenbrook South coach Larry Faulkner rearranged his No. 2 doubles team, pairing senior Luke McCanna with Will Lyon and giving them ample time to prepare for the Schaumburg sectional.
It would be McCanna’s final opportunity to qualify for state, and he and Lyon quickly discovered their comfort zone.
“I think I found the most chemistry playing with Luke, and we really match well,” said Lyon, a junior. “He’s more consistent, I’m more of the put-away guy. It really mixes well.”
But without a full season together, McCanna and Lyon were given the No. 6 seed at Schaumburg, meaning they would have to pull an upset in order to advance to state.
In their second match on Friday, McCanna and Lyon prevailed over Glenbrook North’s Miguel Perez and David Zakhodin, 6-2, 6-4. The defeat of the No. 3 seed punched McCanna and Lyon’s ticket to state and gave Glenbrook South its third state qualifier.
“This is my first time,” McCanna said. “It’s an awesome feeling. I finally made it — one for three — but now we’ve got to move on and try to do some damage at state.”
At the beginning of the season, Glenbrook South was on the short list — one which always includes two-time defending state champion New Trier — as a possible state championship contender. But with No. 1 singles player Konrad Zieba done for the year, it placed more pressure on the Titans’ other players.
“We’re still going there for the state title, but it’s a different mentality,” said McCanna, regarding how the team changed its mind-set after the IHSA ruled Zieba ineligible for playing in an unauthorized tournament. “We’ve got to fight a little harder. It’s definitely tough losing your No. 1 player, but you’ve just got to fight it out. We still definitely have a chance.”
New top singles player, sophomore Sam Hoogland drew a 9-16 seed for the tournament.
Glenbrook South’s most seasoned players advancing are Michael Levin and Michael Sellitto, who are ranked as the No. 1 doubles team entering state. Levin and Sellitto will have a combined seven years of state tournament experience once they play their first match today (Thursday).
After being paired together midway through the season, Lyon and McCanna have played the talented Titans’ tandem on a consistent basis.
That experience has allowed them to quickly grow into a much stronger doubles team. McCanna and Lyon lost to Barrington’s George Coll and Varun Parekh, 7-5, 6-2 at sectionals, but weren’t intimidated.
“Yeah, almost every practice we’ve been playing them,” said Lyon. “It’s definitely showing us the top-tier teams, like the No. 1 Barrington team. They’re definitely our top team’s quality. They’re showing a harder ball and we’re definitely getting adjusted to that.”