DUNLAP — For the second time in less than a week, the Dunlap boys tennis team claimed a title on its home courts.
The Eagles, who won the rain-delayed Mid-Illini Conference title on Monday, won singles, doubles and the team title in the Class 1A Dunlap Sectional on Saturday.
It was the second straight sectional title for Dunlap, which finished with 30 points. Morton (17) was second and Notre Dame (14) third.
The Eagles, the defending Class 1A state champs, qualified singles champ Aanan Kashyap and fourth-place finisher Arian Rahbar in singles, and doubles champs David Wu and Steve Chacko for next weekend’s state tournament in Arlington Heights.
"You always hope to win, and I know we have a strong team," Eagles coach Pat Gornik said. "But to win conference here and then to win this, to go out on a winning note is huge for these guys."
Wu and Chacko, the top-seeded duo who finished second in state last year, beat second-seeded Ethan Sabotta and Jake Valencic of Washington in the title match, 6-1, 6-1.
The winners had to wait four hours on Saturday before playing their first match because of the length of some of the other matches.
"It was frustrating, because the matches kept going back and forth," Chacko said. "We were about to go on, then we weren’t."
Wu and Chacko beat the Richwoods duo of Sid and Abe Saxena, 6-1, 6-2, in the semifinals, and then went right into the title match without a cool-down period.
"We felt pretty good after the semi, so we were just like, why don’t we just take it to the final," Wu said.
Added Gornik: "It was a tough day just in terms of the mental aspect and the waiting, which is why we wanted to play their second match right away. They had done all the waiting they needed to do."
The singles final matched up a pair of sophomores who have been friends since kindergarten. Kashyap, the No. 2 seed, upset top-seeded Josh Montefolka of Notre Dame, 6-4, 6-1.
"We’ve known each other since we were five," Kashyap said. "When we were younger, we’d go back and forth. But recently he’s pulled ahead of me and has been beating me."
Kashyap jumped out to a 5-1 lead in the opening set before Montefolka rallied to win three straight games.
"I kind of lost my focus," Kashyap said. "There was a little bit of commotion on the other court, and I was really not paying attention. That’s something I need to work on."
It didn’t happen in the second set.
"I was up 4-1 again in the second set," Kashyap said. "So I mentally focused and told myself I needed to win the next two games."
In the singles third-place game, Peoria Heights senior Stephen Ferkol beat Rahbar, 7-6 (7-5), 6-1, to qualify for state for the third straight year.
Rahbar and Kashyap qualified together last year in doubles.
Barik Olden and Sam Taluc of Morton qualified for state for the second time in three years by beating the Saxena brothers, 2-6, 6-1, 6-1, in the third-place match.
Metamora qualified two singles players and two doubles teams for state to win the Class 1A Ottawa Regional with 35 points.
Junior Michael Poppen, the No. 1 seed, beat Redbirds teammate Brian Lelm in the singles final, 6-1, 6-1, while the top-seeded doubles team of Grant Gutwein and Ethan Greenfield won their title 7-6 (7-5), 7-5 over Jack Marvel and Nathan Meyer of Ottawa.
Metamora seniors Keegan DeShon and Zack Lambiase won the third-place match to advance to state.
Johnny Campos can be reached at 686-3214 or at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @JohnnyCampos59.