Geneseo’s Shawn DePauw and Connor Vandersnick punched their tickets to the IHSA State Tennis Finals after their third-and fourth-place finishes, respectively at the Moline Sectional May 17-18.
DePauw placed third in singles’ play as he won his second round match, 6-1 and 6-2 over Princeton’s Zach Hicks and third match, 6-0 and 6-0 over Sterling’s Chandler Allen. He suffered a loss in his fourth round match, 1-6 and 2-6 to Alleman’s Mark McLaughlin to send him to the third-place match.
“Shawn has gone to state twice in doubles so going in singles is the cherry on the top,” said head coach Kevin Reed. “The nice thing about being a No. 1 seed is you won’t see a seeded player, so Shawn had a pretty easy road, but then ran into a tough Alleman player.”
Vandersnick finished fourth in singles’ play to advance as he nabbed wins in his first two matches, 6-1 and 6-3 for Alleman’s Connor Hogan and 6-1 and 6-1 over Dixon’s Matt Kerr. He fell in the fourth round by a score of 3-6 and 5-7 to Moline’s Justin Rumley to meet up with DePauw in the third-place match.
“Connor will be making his second trip to state,” said Reed. “He came out (at sectionals) played a really good match against his Alleman opponent, and then I was a little nervous when he played Kerr from Dixon because Connor had already beaten him twice this year, and people say ‘third time is the charm,’ but I felt confident Connor could beat him and he did.”
In the third-place match, DePauw edged Vandersnick, 6-1 and 6-4.
“This is the first time I’ve ever had players play each other in the season where it counted for something, and that is exciting,” said Reed. “The pressure was off (in the third-place match) and the guys had a good time. They didn’t want the coaches coaching, but were just head-to-head playing each other. The pressure was off, but it was still a competition and they wanted to win. Both of them hit great shots.”
The doubles team of Bryce Gramling/Lue Verplaetse went 1-1 in sectional play as they won their first match, 6-1 and 6-1 over their Sterling opponents, but lost to a team from Moline, 1-6 and 1-6.
The team of Seth Stewart/Jacob Stimes were defeated in their opening round match by a team from Moline by a score of 1-6 and 1-6.
“Unfortunately, our doubles teams had a tough draw and had to play those higher seeds right away,” said Reed. “They played really well, but they just ran into some top competition.”
Page 2 of 2 - The Leafs as a team finished third overall.
DePauw and Vandersnick will compete in the IHSA State Tennis Finals May 23-25 in Arlington Heights.
“The expectations are to first see if they can win a match at state, and then to see if they can get to Friday’s competition,” said Reed.