Lyons Township High School junior boys tennis players Mason Mazzone and Jack McLane returned to the state meet on a much bigger stage.
This year’s No. 3-4 seeds in doubles found themselves playing in the state quarterfinals against Barrington’s Gabe Mills and Shiv Sastry at Palatine, the primary site.
As other matches finished, more gathered to watch. Soon they were the only match still going.
“There had to be almost 100 to 200 people watching. It was really cool to play in an atmosphere like that,” McLane said. “It was pretty nerve-racking but also super fun.”
The Lions lost that and their next match, both in three sets, to finish among the top 12 in state.
After opening with three straight two-set victories, Mazzone and McLane (19-5) lost the 6-2, 4-6, 7-6 (7-5) quarterfinal heartbreaker to Barrington, a No. 5-8 seed. In the consolation backdraw, they lost to New Trier’s No. 9-16 seed Oliver Coppieters and Daniel Matten 6-3, 3-6, 10-7 with a third-set, 10-point tiebreaker.
Barrington and New Trier finished fourth and fifth overall, respectively.
“We played pretty well,” McLane said. “Friday was tough with Barrington. We fought hard and it was an awesome match.”
In singles, LTHS senior John Dunleavy (16-13) and freshman Shay Sweigard (18-11) both were 2-2 with two backdraw victories. One of Dunleavy’s victories needed a 10-4 third-set tiebreaker.
The doubles team of senior Patrick Adams and junior Luke Howell (17-10) went 1-2 after winning in the first round 6-2, 7-6. The second loss was a 10-2 third-set tiebreaker. Adams also was 1-2 as a 2022 doubles qualifier.
This was the third state trip and highest state finish for Mazzone, all in doubles with different partners each time. McLane was 2-2 in singles last season.
Mazzone was top-24 and 3-2 with Will Carroll last year and a top-16 with Owen O’Connor in 2021 with a 4-2 record.
In the second round, McLane and Mazzone earned a hard-fought 6-4, 7-5 victory over Glenbrook North’s Max Manoshin and Troy Kaneshiro.
“We were down 4-0 in the second set and came back hard and won. That was a little nerve-racking,” McLane said.