This was not the season the incoming Cyclone tennis coaches expected. It was far better than they hoped for.
When head Coach Steve Yates and his assistant Mike Maratea came along at the start of the year, they had six players. Right before the start of the season, they were down to three. With some luck and last-minute recruiting, they were able to assemble a team that ended up 8-1 overall and 5-1 in the Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference, good enough for a second place finish.
That effort was led by No. 1 singles player Nick Karczynski, Alex Kokoszka (No. 2 singles) and Yash Patel (No. 3 singles). First year players Donato Figueroa-Ramirez, John McGuire and Sean McKernan joined the original first year players as well as lone sophomore Teddy Woloszyn to round out the team.
Throughout the short, and often wintry, season, the Cyclones fought through four matches that ended in narrow 5-4 victories. Many wins came down to the doubles results. Karczynski and Kokoszka packed a punch at No. 1 doubles, yielding an 8-1 record and finishing runners-up in the NJCAA Region IV tournament. Competition was fierce at regionals (April 27-28), held on the Cyclone courts, where the team took third by 1.5 points. In addition to No. 1 doubles, Kokoszka (No. 2) and John McGuire (No. 6) also were runners-up in singles play.
“We weren’t sure how this season would go, but what a season. They did an outstanding job. There were many close matches with Moraine Valley always providing the extra effort to claim victory. Each player improved greatly from the start of the season, and that showed at regionals,” Yates said. “Coach Maratea and I would like to thank the players for a great season. We also wish departing player Yash Patel much success as he continues his academic career.”