Men’s tennis wraps up season with 8th-place finish at State

Erin Sullivan, staff reporter

With a 17-6 season record, the GBS Men’s tennis team finished with strong wins in the Sectional and State tournament, according to Head Coach Larry Faulkner.

Faulkner says that the team has been improving significantly over the season, and all aspects of the game are excelling.

“Everyone is playing better,” Faulkner said. “We have improved our serving, our return of serves and our volleys.”

Over the past weekend, the team traveled to the State Tennis Meet at Hersey High School. According to Faulkner, the entire team participated, so he was more than pleased.

“I’m really proud of the team because they competed so well,” Faulkner said. “Even when we lost we played our hearts out, and as a coach, that’s all you can ask for.”

The team finished eighth overall and the doubles team of senior Captain Sebastien DesRoberts and junior Rohan Gupta won fourth in state in class 2A doubles.

Throughout the weekend of May 19, the team competed in the Sectional Tournament. Faulkner says that the team was named Sectional champs, but it was different this year because they won by default.

“A North player was unable to compete and afforded us some victories that we weren’t expecting, but the good news is that we were in position to take advantage of the unfortunate condition of the player,” Faulkner said. “So in many senses it was really good. We had already qualified our entire team and to get yourself into position to win is really what it’s all about.”

Junior Jacob Adas’ reaction to the State and Sectional Tournament has mixed emotions, but overall he was proud, finishing thirteenth all-state with his partner Sophomore Jack Upperman.

“Sectionals we were actually really happy because in past years we’ve had a really tough sectional and being able to qualify our whole team was really nice,” Adas said. “State tournament was different. It was my first year qualifying so it’s just a lot more intense, but it was fun.”

At the CSL Conference on May 13, all players placed in the top four. The team finished in second overall and individual players placed as well. Sophomore Michael Bukhalo placed first in singles and Gupta and DesRoberts placed first in doubles.

Although the team finished with a strong record, injuries kept them from their full potential, according to Faulkner. Injuries include DesRoberts’ foot, Gupta’s fractured finger, and junior Ethan Sawyer’s shoulder. Faulkner says that the injuries gave other players the chance to play instead.

“If we had these players the whole season I’m confident we may have won more matches, but the good news is that we have a lot of talent on the team and the players on the team stepped up to handle the challenge of playing at a higher position,” Faulkner said.

DesRoberts also says that this year’s team is very talented even with the injuries that affected them.  Even though the team has been good in the past, it has continued to move forward.

“I think this is our best team that I’ve been a part of these four years,” DesRoberts said.

Not only has the team grown on the court, but also off the court, according to DesRoberts. He says that this year’s team has bonded more than any other team he’s played with in the past.

“We’re close not only through tennis, but just as friends,” DesRoberts said. “We trust each other and enjoy being around each other.”

Gupta also agrees that the team has been growing throughout the season.

“We’ve been getting closer as a team, going out to many dinners and lunches so we’re a much closer team than we were in the beginning of the season,” Gupta said.

DesRoberts explains that his partner Gupta and him claimed a solid victory that gave him hope the sectional and state tournaments.

“Some of our biggest competition that caused us some worry, we were able to almost demolish,” DesRoberts said. “So I think that being able to take our biggest competition down rather handedly has been a comfort as well as a reward for the amount of work we’ve put in.”

The team’s overnight tournament in Moline, Illinois was DesRoberts’ favorite memory of the season. He says that Gupta and him claimed a fantastic win.

“My partner and I won for the second time in a row, and being able to solidify our first place at that tournament was to nice be able to do again,” DesRoberts said.

According to Faulkner, he knows how difficult the tournament can be, so he is proud and thankful for how the season turned out along with the team.

“It’s really not about wins and loses,” Faulkner said. “We focus on improvement and generally the wins take care of themselves.  Sectionals are created by the IHSA and in years past we have been in the most difficult sectional in the state.  To qualify to state is an accomplishment that for our top players is often their personal goal.”