May 5, 2015
Cyclones finish 2015 season with lessons and drive for 2016
The Cyclones grappled with a growing and learning year all around from coach to
players. And that momentum will fuel the fire of this group next season.
New coach Robert Gates entered the season with high expectations and goals for the traditionally strong Cyclones. However, he did encounter some snags in his plan.
“Overall, the season went well. I learned a lot in how to get them prepared especially early on in the season to give us a better chance to compete. We were productive and worked well, but we could’ve been stronger. I just didn’t know the other teams that well,” Gates said. “Now I have a year down, and I can better prepare the players and prepare the doubles sooner. I now know how the conference works as well as the other teams and coaches.”
There were a couple of matches the Cyclones could have won, losing them 5-4, because of some weak spots in the lineup. Finishing a respectable 5-4 overall, 3-3 in conference and fifth place in the NJCAA Region IV tournament wasn’t exactly what they wanted, but Gates said his players improved more over the season than any other team he witnessed, especially the sophomores.
Number one singles player the last two years, Kevin Karczynski (Andrew), made big strides this season, avenging his loss to an Elgin Community College player in the region tournament, upsetting the two seed in the semi-finals. His doubles partner and co-captain Mike Broderick (Providence) at #2 singles played well all season, finishing runner-up in the championship match of regionals. Alec Mikes (Tinley Park) also had a fine run at #5 singles, giving himself a chance every match with his enthusiasm and high energy level. Lacking some of the experience of his teammates, his improvement was rapid and he absorbed the coaching, Gates said. Bryan Jimenez (Shepard) at #6 singles did what he was supposed to all year long and played many tight matches. He still has room to grow and is better than he knows, Gates added.
Although the Cyclones will miss these sophomores, they anticipate the freshmen—Casey Case (Andrew), Reigh Lamparas (Reavis) and Gregorio Illner (Brazil)—will return with renewed energy and excitement. Plus, Gates will have an opportunity to do the full recruiting he wasn’t able to for this season.
“I feel that over the season, our players improved as much or more than any other team, so I am confident in my system and my ability to help any group I have to improve. Going forward, I must recruit well in our area to replace the sophomores and give us a shot at returning to the top of the Skyway Conference and our region,” Gates said.
April 27, 2015
Cyclones take fifth at regionals
This wasn’t the plan the Cyclones had in mind, but the guys closed out their
season at the NJCAA Region IV Division I tournament (April 23-25) in fifth
The tournament started outside before the weather pushed the competition indoors. Several Cyclones made it to the final round, but none could yield a championship.
Kevin Karczynski (#1 singles) fought into the championship after winning the first round (6-1, 6-2) and then upsetting the two seed from Elgin Community College in round two, showing his determination in avenging his worst loss of the regular season (6-4, 7-6, 7-2). The final match was indoors, and Karczynski came out strong going up 3-1 before dropping 11 games in a row to go down 3-6 and 0-5. He rallied for one last game before finally falling in the championship for a second place finish.
Mike Broderick followed a similar path at #2 singles. Winning the first two rounds (7-6, 6-0 then 6-1, 6-3), he had a back and forth match in the championship. He was up 5-4 before his opponent turned up the heat and defeated him 7-5. Broderick lost steam in the second set, losing the match 6-2.
Gregario Illner (#3 singles) and Casey Case (#4 singles) lost super-tiebreakers in the early rounds, failing to earn any team points. Alec Mikes (#5 singles) won his opening round 6-4, 6-2 before losing 6-1, 6-3 to the eventual champion in the semis and dropping a close 9-8 match for fourth. Bryan Jimenez (#6 singles) won his quarterfinal match with an impressive comeback victory 15-13 in the super tiebreaker before taking the loss in round two (6-1, 6-3). He played again for 3rd/4th, going down 9-7.
The solid duo of Karczynski and Broderick made it through round one (6-3, 6-1) before defeat in the semis by the eventual champions (3-6, 3-6). They took third place with an impressive 8-4 victory over Sauk Valley. Jimenez/Mikes (6-2, 6-2) and Illner/Case (6-1, 6-3) fell short in the early round.
“After the adversity of the season, I think we won the matches we were capable of winning. Kevin knocked off the #2 seed and avenged that loss, and if he wins the tournament, he would have avenged every loss he ever had at Moraine Valley. That would have been nice,” said head Coach Robert Gates. “I think besides the #5 and #6 singles 3rd/4th place matches, we lived up to expectations. I feel that over the season, our players improved as much or more than any other team, so I am confident in my system.”
April 21, 2015
Cyclones brought down at the end
It came down to the final match April 20 that left the Cyclones with a bitter
taste in their collective mouths before regionals.
Right down to a loss at third doubles, the Cyclones battled all day with Waubonsee Community College, falling 5-4.
Some bright spots came as wins from Kevin Karczynski (6-3, 6-0) at #1 singles, Gregario Illner (6-2, 6-3) at #3 singles and Alec Mikes (6-3, 6-0) at #5 singles. Mike Broderick and Bryan Jimenez fell uncharacteristically short, leaving the Cyclones tied 3-3 going into the doubles matches. Karczynski/Broderick pulled out their #1 match victory (6-0, 6-7, 10-3) for the final win of the regular season. Jimenez/Illner went down 6-1, 6-2 as did Casey Case/Mikes in the final match, losing 6-4, 6-2.
With the regular season over, the Cyclones head into the NJCAA Region IV tournament. “I’m still optimistic going into regionals. It’s basically an individual tournament for all of the flights. We feel very good about Kevin taking regionals as well as Bryan at #6. Mike has been up and down, but he has the potential to do great things as well. Alec at #5 has a shot at the championship. Doubles is where we are shaky at #2 and #3, but Kevin and Mike are playing better than ever. We are looking to see who will step up big to give us a shot at the championship,” said head Coach Robert Gates.
April 18, 2015
Cyclones building momentum for regionals
Every win now builds momentum for the NJCAA Region IV tournament. In their most
comprehensive team win this season, the Cyclones defeated Illinois Valley
Community College April 17 in a definitive 7-2 victory.
Kevin Karczynski battled with his opponents’ power groundstroke game that kept him off balance in the first set loss, 3-6. He fired back using smart tactics with his slice and heavy topspin forehand to win the second, 6-3. After wearing him down, Karczynski was able to secure the super tiebreaker, 10-6. Mike Broderick neutralized the power forehand of his opponent to win routinely (6-3, 6-2). In a long match, Greg Illner rallied after being down 3-4 in both sets to win 7-5, 6-4. Alec Mikes earned a win (6-0, 6-3) as did Bryan Jimenez, who continued his hot streak (6-1, 6-3).
Wins at doubles came from power duo Karczynski/Broderick, who got back on track to win (6-1, 6-4), and Casey Case/Mikes with another good outing (6-3, 6-4).
April 17, 2015
Cyclones battle to the end
The Cyclones don’t take too kindly to losses. After suffering a tough 5-4 defeat
by College of DuPage the day before, Moraine Valley had to regroup quickly for
an important conference match with Oakton Community College (April 16). And they
did, winning 5-4.
Kevin Karczynski was ready and eager to avenge his only loss from last year during the regular season against DuPage’s Ross Gan. He used a powerful forehand to jump to an early 4-1 lead. Gan responded with strong net play and variety to take the opening set 7-5. Karczynski made some strategic adjustments to attack Gan's weaker backhand and took the second set 6-3. Not to be denied the long-desired victory, Karczynski jumped on top of the super tiebreaker with relentless forehands and attacked the net like a champ to secure the 10-3 win. This was the last match that elevated the Cyclones 4-2 after singles play. Mike Broderick dropped the opening set as well in a tiebreaker 6-7 before storming back for a 6-1 second and took the super tiebreaker 10-5. Alec Mikes got a win (6-3, 6-4) as did Bryan Jimenez (6-2, 6-1).
Karczynski and Broderick couldn’t combat the revenge of the doubles duo they defeated individually, losing 6-1, 3-6, 7-10. New pair Jimenez/Illner also went down (0-6, 0-6), but Casey Case/Alec Mikes secured the team win with a 7-6, 6-4 victory.
April 16, 2015
Breaking their two-game win streak, the Cyclones fell 5-4 to College of DuPage
(April 15) after a battle to the end.
Kevin Karczynski and Mike Broderick continued their success at singles and doubles with quick victories all around. Bryan Jimenez followed suit with a routine 6-2, 6-3 victory. Gregario Illner dropped his match in a tight 6-7, 4-6 defeat while Casey Case also lost 0-6, 2-6. Alec Mikes was taken down in a super tiebreaker (8-10) in the third after splitting his first two sets.
The Cyclones went into the doubles tied 3-3 needing just two victories to secure the team win. Only the duo of Karczynski and Broderick were able to deliver as both Jimenez/Mikes (2-6, 3-6) and Casey Case/Illner (4-6, 2-6) went down.
April 15, 2015
Cyclones demonstrate athleticism
The Cyclones added another needed win April 14 to their conference record in a
solid 7-2 victory over McHenry County College at home.
Kevin Karczynski is building momentum and playing better each match. He made quick work of his opponent (6-0, 6-1) using variety and getting to the net with regularity. Mike Broderick was slow getting out of the gates, dropping the first set 5-7 before a strong turnaround saw him win the second set 6-1 and up 6-0 in the super tiebreaker. He closed the match with a strong approach shot causing an error and taking the tiebreaker 10-7. Gregario Illner won a tight first set 6-4 before cutting out his unforced errors and dominating 6-0 in the second set. Alec Mikes also displayed his powerful forehand and athleticism in grabbing his singles victory. The lone loss came at #4 singles with Casey Case dropping a hard fought match 1-6, 5-7. Bryan Jimenez got a default victory as the Scots fielded only five players.
In doubles action, Broderick and Karczynski continued showing their teamwork of old crushing their opponents in two (6-1, 6-0). At #2 doubles, Jimenez and Mikes couldn’t get things going in their sets, falling 4-6, 3-6. Third doubles was defaulted for lack of players.
April 10, 2015
Cyclones dominate Lancers
Some dominating serves and overheads gave the Cyclones the edge April 9 when
they soundly defeated College of Lake County, 8-1.
At #1 singles, Kevin Karczynski started the ball rolling with a quick win (6-0, 6-1) thanks to a plethora of monster serves and forehands. Gregario Illner showed improvement in his forehand consistency and net play, winning 6-3, 6-0. He closed the second set with powerful overheads and kept his opponent off balance with passing shots. Mike Broderick got back to his winning ways with a victory in two competitive sets (6-2, 6-4). After closing that match with a ballistic overhead, he was nicknamed the "Hammer of the Gods." Alec Mikes used strong serves and forehands to overwhelm his opponent in a quick victory (6-0, 6-1).
Karczynski and Broderick sealed the team victory with a routine doubles win (6-1, 6-1) and Mikes and Bryan Jimenez followed suit (6-2, 6-3). Lake County had an unavailable player and was forced to default #6 singles and #3 doubles.
April 6, 2015
Cyclones take a beating
It just wasn’t the Cyclones’ night April 2 when they suffered a 9-0 shutout to
rival Elgin Community College.
Elgin's facility is indoors, and the Spartans used a combination of big serves, flat groundstrokes and deft net play to keep the Cyclones on their toes throughout the matches. Both Kevin Karczynski and Mike Broderick were blown out 6-1, 6-1 and 6-2, 6-2 at first and second singles, respectively. At third singles, Greg Illner showed improvement and played a tight match before going down 6-2, 6-4. Despite having a tough outing and losing 6-3, 6-3, Reigh Lamparas displayed increased stamina and more consistent groundstroke play. Bryan Jimenez’ win streak came to an end with an unforced, error-filled loss—7-5, 6-1—while Casey Case also went down 6-1, 6-1.
In doubles action, Karczynski/Broderick (first doubles) and Jimenez/Case (second doubles) battled. The best showing came from Lamparas/Illner whose match came down to the wire in a close 6-4, 6-4 loss.
“I told the guys after the match that these latest two losses to Elgin and Prairie State must be a wake-up call. Their guys were motivated to the max to avenge the losses we delivered to them last year. Not only could we not match their energy and intensity emotionally, but they also exploited our weaknesses and didn't allow us to get going at all,” said head Coach Robert Gates. “We must use these next few weeks to push as hard as we can to prepare the strongest part of our games for the challenges we’ll face in the rest of our conference matches. We need to be physically, mentally and emotionally ready for regionals.”
April 1, 2015
Cyclones sapped in home opener
Foiled again. A few different match outcomes could have bolstered the Cyclone
spirits to a win March 31, but instead they fell 8-1 to Prairie State College at
home. The Cyclones couldn’t match the energy of the sole team they lost to in
the 2014 regular season.
The lone win went to Bryan Jimenez at #6 singles—6-1, 6-1. Both Kevin Karczynski and Mike Broderick played into super tiebreakers. Karczynski started out slowly, losing 3-6, but picked up a 7-6 win before he lost the tiebreaker 10-5. Broderick was closer, splitting the first two (6-2, 2-6) and losing his tiebreaker 10-8 in a fight. If they had earned the wins, the positive momentum could have changed the doubles matchups and finale, said head Coach Robert Gates.
“I’ll take part of the blame. Against this team we needed to be in better shape. My job is to get them there. They needed more reserve in those tiebreakers. The guys need that fight to last. Prairie State is one of the best in our conference, and it’s tough to play them this early,” Gates said. “Now we have to regroup, shake this off and prepare for the next match. It’s tough, but we have to take lessons from this beating. When we see them again, we’ll have a strong game plan.”
March 30, 2015
Cyclones take down Sauk Valley
It was cold, but not cold enough to stop the Cyclones from their opening match
on March 28 when they beat down Sauk Valley Community College in a stunning 9-0
At first singles, Kevin Karczynski, and at second singles, Mike Broderick, started strong with 6-2, 6-0 and 6-0, 6-2 wins, respectively. Bryan Jimenez and Gregario Illner followed suit with quality execution to pick up wins of their own with Jimenez scoring 6-1, 6-1 and Illner going 6-2, 6-2. Alec Mikes picked up a hard fought win at fifth singles (6-4, 6-7, 10-3). The highlight win of the day was Reigh Lamparas coming back from an injury to his playing hand. He lost the first set 3-6, but fought back like a champ for a 6-4 win before a 10-8 victory in the super tiebreaker.
The doubles teams each earned straight set wins as well. At first doubles Karczynski and Broderick continued their success from last year with a 6-3, 6-1 victory. Mikes and Jimenez went 6-0, 6-4 at second doubles while Illner and Casey Case went 6-4, 6-3 at third. Case stepped in for the injured Lamparas to help maintain the domination.
March 12, 2015
Cyclones ready to continue tradition of success
Last year the Cyclones had a pretty good run—only one loss in the regular
season, second at the NJCAA Region IV tournament and a trip to nationals. In
2015, they hope for more.
New head Coach Robert Gates knows about the high level of success these Cyclones have had over the years, including nine trips to nationals, and wants to elevate those achievements.
“I’m excited about building this program. As a team, our goal is to be Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference and region champions. I’m confident in our players,” he said.
And he has some talented athletes to build with. Returning top singles player Kevin Karczynski (Andrew) and his doubles partner Mike Broderick (Providence) should be stronger than ever in 2015. The duo were undefeated at first doubles last year while Broderick went 9-0 at third singles during the regular season. They earned 2014 All-Region and All-Conference honors. Gates wants to continue molding those two into better players as well as other talented returners Bryan Jimenez (Shepard) and Alec Mikes (Tinley Park).
Some strong newcomers should add to this season’s success: Casey Case (Andrew), Reigh Lamparas (Reavis) and Gregorio Illner (Brazil).
“I’m excited to help the returners develop and see the first years grow into more leadership roles. I’ll be supportive of who’s here and will build on that. I’m going to give everyone a chance to compete for spots. And for doubles we’ll look for the best matchups,” Gates said. “I’m looking forward to our match against rival Prairie State, the only team we lost to last year. It’s our first home match this season.”
The Cyclones lost 4-5 to the Pioneers, and that lone loss has been on Gates’ mind. He’s also talked with Karczynski, who wants to avenge his lone singles loss to an Oakton Community College player he hopes to face again. In addition to those desires, the team is focused on becoming sharper on the court, on their strengths, moving well with good footwork and not getting unforced errors. Gates said he’s a big advocate of clean serves and returns on serves, not giving any points away.
Gates takes the reins of this men’s squad after 13 years of coaching individual and professional-level athletes. He played NCAA tennis at Alcorn State University where he was ranked 116th in the nation and won the 2003 Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) singles player national championship. Gates also competed at some smaller professional tournaments. He’s joined by another high-level tennis player, Robbye Poole, who was ranked in the top 400 worldwide by the Association of Tennis Professionals.
“I’m happy with this great opportunity to coach at the college level. I’m excited to recruit and have this become a well-known program,” Gates said. “And having Robbye here is great. I thought he’d be a perfect fit for the team.”
September 26, 2014
Tryouts set for 2015 season
The Cyclones men's tennis team has a history of championships and competing at nationals. Now's your chance to be part of that tradition. Tryouts will be held Wednesday, Oct. 1 at 3 p.m. on the college courts on the southwest side of campus near Building H. Athletes must have a physical prior to trying out. For more information, contact the Athletics Office at (708) 974-5727.