Between familiar faces coaching from the sidelines and a robust roster of talent, the Moraine Valley Community College men’s tennis team is looking to create even more success on the courts in 2022.

The head coach from last season, Mike Maratea, is now the assistant coach while his former Cyclone tennis player, Dave Souza, is leading the program.

“I played three years at Moraine Valley because of COVID and went to nationals my first year, so I know what everyone’s going through. I can empathize with them. It makes you more approachable,” Souza said. “I’m excited to coach the team. Last year I was more like a player-coach. Maratea is a major help, too.”

Souza has competed with four of his players. He said his role is more about fine tuning the athletes and assessing how they work together. And he has plenty to work with. This is one of the largest teams in program history with 10 guys, which is great if someone gets injured or for testing different matchups, Souza noted.

Sophomore Ali Amer (Reavis) is back and should fill the No. 1 spot with his big-hitting skills. Newcomer Matt Bednar (Reavis) also looks to be a powerhouse on the court. Aidan Lysouvakan (Sandburg), another freshman, should make an immediate impact.

“Everyone has been hitting well so far. This team has good chemistry, and I think it’ll be a fun year. We’re a good team,” Souza said.

The Cyclone tennis program has a track record of success, which Souza intends to continue. He wants his team to place at the region tournament, which Moraine Valley is hosting, and qualify for nationals, but he has one more goal. Prairie State College has been the team to beat the last few years. He wants the Cyclones to take them down and change the guard. It won’t be easy, but he thinks he has the roster to do it.

“I have a lot of confidence in this group. Last year we did well, all things considered with the pandemic,” Souza said. “I think some of the guys like the pressure.”

The Cyclones’ opening season match is Tuesday, April 5, at Oakton Community College.

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For news media inquiries, contact Maura Vizza, Moraine Valley communications specialist and sports information coordinator, at (708) 974-5742 or