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Panthers get the edge : Sports : Oswego Ledger-Sentinel : Hometown Newspaper for Oswego and Montgomery, Illinois
Panthers get the edge
Narrow 4-3 decision gives Wolves first SPC loss

by Christine Bolin Dascher


In really no surprise to either team, the Southwest Prairie Conference dual between the Oswego and Oswego East boys' tennis teams was going to be a close finish.

Oswego ended up edging out rival Oswego East, 4-3, on Tuesday at Oswego East. The win moved the Panthers to 4-3 overall and 2-0 in the conference.

"The season still feels very new, even though we've been playing for a month," Oswego head coach Marjean Pobuda said. "We are taking steps in the right direction. Obviously, it needs to continue - the work ethic and motivation. It's just a matter of keeping them focused and keep them playing to be the best that I know they are."

The Wolves are now 2-5 overall and 2-1 in the conference.

"I knew today (against Oswego) would be tough and going in, I knew it would be a 4-3 match," Oswego East head coach Scott Gengler said. "We haven't had some players be as consistent as we need them to be, and I think that's where we kind of fell. We had a tough pre-conference schedule with teams like Batavia and Marmion, but that gives us good experience going into our conference play."

Oswego's lone win in singles came at No. 1, when senior Jason Koesler defeated Oswego East junior Costa Dassis, 6-0, 6-0.

"It was a good match for him," Pobuda said of Koesler. "He plays well when he's working at his fullest."

Oswego East senior Sujay Shah defeated Oswego junior Nikesh Patel, 6-3, 6-4, at No. 2 singles.

"(Sujay) came out and played really well," Gengler said. "It was good to see that. He played against Nikesh last year At No. 3 singles in the championship match in the conference tournament and he won last year too. I think he had confidence because he has played him before."

Oswego East sophomore Giri Ekkurthi beat Oswego junior Nick Latzo, 6-1, 6-2, at No. 3 singles.

"Giri has been a great No. 3 singles player for us this year," Gengler said. "He plays really well for a sophomore at No. 3. He makes really nice shots and has put himself in a really good position to be playing well in conference by the end of the year."

At No. 1 doubles, Oswego East sophomore Mitch Perry/freshman Ryan Zaprzal topped Oswego junior Grant Tuider/senior Hudson Cross, 6-3, 6-3.

"Mitch and Ryan are playing really well right now for underclassmen playing against mainly upperclassmen," Gengler said. "That's usually the way it does at No. 1 doubles. They are stepping up and have definitely been our MVPs at doubles so far."

Oswego seniors Kyle Marsh/Danny Lederman defeated sophomores Pranav Selvan/Harsha Dantuluri, 6-3, 6-1, at No. 2 doubles.

"They got down to business and did a nice job," Pobuda said of Marsh and Lederman. "I'm very proud of them."

At No. 3 doubles, Oswego sophomores Ben Livingston/John Watson beat Oswego East junior Chris Bishop/sophomore Rohan Pisharody, 6-4, 6-4.

"They are making the leap from JV to varsity," Pobuda said of Livingston and Watson. "I expect really big things from them for the next two years. They are doing good things."

Junior Bailey Miller/senior Mitchell Dergance from Oswego topped Oswego East senior Brandon Love/junior Donovan Kehoe, 6-4, 6-2 at No. 4 doubles.

"They are an awesome team," Pobuda said of Miller and Dergance. "They are one of my favorites to watch. They are just super happy on the court, they love being here and they have a good time together."

Oswego notes: Prior to Oswego East, Oswego beat both Geneva (4-3, on April 16) and Plainfield North (6-1 last Thursday).

Last Saturday, Oswego East placed fifth of seven teams at Geneva's 20th annual Tennis Invitational.

Against Geneva, Koesler and Patel won in singles while Marsh/Lederman and Dergance/Miller won in doubles.

Against Plainfield North, Oswego's winners were Koesler and Patel in singles again and Cross/Tuider, Marsh/Lederman, Livingston/Watson and Dergance/Miller in doubles. Everyone won in two sets.

At Geneva's Invite, Lincoln-Way East won with 19 points, followed by Marmion (15), St. Charles East (13), Geneva (8), Oswego (5), Crystal Lake Central (4) and DeKalb (0).

Patel placed second overall at No. 2 singles and Koesler placed fifth at No. 1 singles.

"(The) Geneva (Invite) was frustrating....we are a good team, we have a lot of good elements, we know what we need to do, we are experienced, but the minute those things are taken for granted, you can immediately lose," Pobuda said. "I think at Geneva, we took some things for granted. We weren't as focused as we needed to be. It showed us we still have some work to do."

Oswego was scheduled to face on West Chicago in a rescheduled event from April 14 on Wednesday, but results were not available at press time.

The Panthers take on Romeoville today, Thursday, at 4 p.m. and Plainfield South on Friday in a rescheduled dual from April 15.

Oswego is hosting a Quad on Saturday, but it will be held at Oswego East. That will start at 8:30 a.m.

On Monday, the Panthers are at West Aurora at 4 p.m. and on Tuesday they return to conference action at Plainfield East.

Oswego East notes: On April 16, Batavia beat the Wolves, 6-1. Shah won his match, 7-6, 6-2.

Last Thursday, Oswego East defeated Plainfield Central, 4-3. The Wolves' winners were Ekkurthi at No. 3 singles, Perry/Zaprzal at No. 1 doubles, Selvan/Dantuluri at No. 2 doubles and Bishop/Pisharody at No. 3 doubles.

Monday's outing against West Aurora was postponed due to the weather. No makeup date has been announced.

The Wolves are at Plainfield South today, Thursday, at 4 p.m. before heading to Saturday's Hawk Invite at Hoffman Estates at 9 a.m.

On Tuesday, the Wolves return to conference action hosting Minooka at 4 p.m.

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