A new, young coach led the Moraine Valley Community College men’s tennis team this season and saw plenty of success.

Head Coach David Souza took the helm of the program after having played for the team the prior three years. As a Cyclone, he competed in the national tournament. With that experience, he was ready to lead the hefty, talented roster and was happy with the results.

“I think the season went extremely well. I think no one really thought we would do well or place third at regionals, which qualified us for nationals,” Souza said. “That wasn’t on our radar, but we set out and did that.”

Overall, the Cyclones ended the short season with a 6-2 overall and 4-1 Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference record. They finished second in conference and third in the NJCAA Region IV tournament, a step up in conference and three spots higher in the region than in 2021. Going into regionals, the Cyclones were running on a four-match win streak, two of which were shutouts.

The 2021-22 Moraine Valley Community College men’s tennis team.

The 2021-22 Moraine Valley Community College men’s tennis team.

Where Souza was most impressed was in the close wins they had – 6-3 over McHenry County College and 5-4 over College of DuPage. “Those two victories were team efforts with surprising wins from players who didn’t get that much playing time throughout the season,” he explained.

Among the players, sophomore Ali Amer (Reavis) played well in a tough first singles spot and helped lead the team to many victories. Freshman Matt Bednar (Reavis) also was crucial at No. 4 singles, especially at regionals where he finished second overall (the highest placement among the Cyclones) and helped push the team into third place.

Sophomores James Coan (Reavis), Lucas Skowyra (Stagg) and Jakub Zolnik (Shepard) along with Amer are moving on, but Aidan Lysouvakan (Sandburg), Martin Gawron (Sandburg), Matthew Doyle (Tinley Park), Devin Thielmann (Stagg) and Ryan O’Connor (Lincoln-Way East) are expected to return next season.

With those players ready to go and recruits in the pipeline, the Cyclones will be ready to grow their success in 2023. Until then, Souza is happy with how everything turned out.

“I think my first year went pretty well. I did far better than my preseason expectations, and I feel the athletes really believed in me to coach them and were very receptive of my opinions and adjustments to their game,” he said. “Next season, my tactics will be the same – to have the athletes enjoy tennis but bring new skills and strategies to their game and become more aggressive tennis players.”

For updates on Cyclone Athletics, visit mvcyclones.com.


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