The Pekin boys tennis team finished its Mid-Illini Conference schedule on a winning note Tuesday, defeating visiting Limestone 7-2 at John Moss Courts.
Pekin coach Gary Garver said the final score is a bit misleading.
“It was a very close match that could have gone either way,” he said. “What pulled it out for us was two singles matches that we were behind in early and won.”
Pekin’s Ben Peterson came from behind to beat Logan McCullough 4-6, 6-2, 15-13 at No. 3 singles and Jack Mansfield rallied to beat Justin Le 4-6, 6-2, 11-9 at No. 6 singles.
“Ben and Jack refused to quit after losing their first set and eventually gutted out wins in third-set tiebreakers,” Garver said. “Their wins gave us a 5-1 lead after singles. If they didn’t pull out those matches, it’s 3-3 after singles and it’s anybody’s team match to win.”
Other winners for Pekin were Brendan Guenther (No. 1 singles), Peyton Swearingen (No. 4 singles), Jayson Presley (No. 5 singles), Guenther and Swearingen (No. 1 doubles) and Mason Grogan and Anthony Stumphy (No. 2 doubles).
The Dragons ended up 2-4 in the Mid-Illini.
Pekin faced Pontiac on Wednesday in a home non-conference match. The Dragons will compete this weekend in the Gene Hill Tournament hosted by Normal U-High.
DUNLAP DOMINATES: With wins over Limestone and Morton last week, the Dunlap boys tennis team went 6-0 in the Mid-Illini for the fourth straight year in the regular season.
“I knew it was going to be close,” Eagles coach Pat Gornik said. “Losing Ashwin Yedavalli and, obviously Victor (Spolidorio, a three-time Peoria Journal Star Boys Tennis Player of the Year) is tough.
“But losing just two out of the top six and having a pretty deep team after that, I was hoping. I wasn’t necessarily expecting to win as many of them 9-0 as we did, but I’m definitely happy with it.”
The Eagles won five of the matches with 9-0 scores, and dropped its only individual match in No. 2 doubles against Washington in an 8-1 decision. That match went to a tiebreaker in each set, and the Panthers won the final tiebreaker 14-12.
Metamora finished the regular season 5-1, and trails the Eagles by one point heading into the M-I Conference tournament in two weeks at Dunlap.
“That’s where Kelly (Willard, Metamora coach) excels, finding ways to score points,” Gornik said. “If they finish ahead of us in the tournament, they get a point and a half more than we do. So, as much as going 6-0 matters, it doesn’t matter until two weeks from now.”
NORMAL DAY: Normal U-High swept the doubles competition and won the team title in the inaugural Class 1A Tom Pitchford Tennis Invitational on Saturday at Metamora. The Pioneers finished with 50 points, Chicago U-High was second with 40, and Chicago Northside third with 38.
Defending Class 1A state champ Dunlap was the high area finisher, taking fifth place with 28 points. The host Redbirds were eighth with 17.
Dunlap junior Arian Rahbar placed third in No. 2 singles after a 5-7, 7-6, 11-9 comeback victory over Kendal Seymore of Chicago Latin in the third-place match. Rahbar was trailing in the second set, 2-5, when he rallied for the win.
Imadh Khan and Jack Disharoon of Dunlap placed fourth in No. 2 doubles.
PC COMMENTS: The Peoria Christian boys tennis team has had only three matches this season, but is 2-1 after winning a pair of matches last week in a season full of rainouts.
The Chargers have wins over Peoria High and Limestone after dropping an 8-1 decision against Washington.
The only win for PC against the Panthers was by Stephen Ferkol at No. 1 singles.
“Stephen is undefeated in singles,” said first-year Chargers coach Nathan Durst. “We’re trying to get more matches, with all the rain-outs.”
Peoria Christian has already added a match against defending Class 1A state champion Dunlap on Thursday, and then takes on Peoria Notre Dame on May 10.
Steve Stein can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @SpartanSteve. Peoria Journal Star contributed to this report.