Boys tennis pulls off unexpected wins resulting in successful season

Over the past few years, ETHS tennis has rapidly increased in popularity across the ETHS student body, and in parallel with this trend, the team’s success has prospered at a growing rate. Last season, ETHS sent three players to state—class of 24’ singles player Finn Pollard and class of ‘22 doubles teammates Jake Chiss and Chauncy Wadsworth.

“We haven’t done that in a long time, probably 10 years,” explains varsity head coach Marcus Plonus.

Prior to competing for the state championship, Pollard faced off with New Trier rising sophomore Stan Okesson at the sectional semifinals. Pollard rained victorious, securing his spot at the state tournament. Plonus, an ETHS tennis alum who is entering his thirteenth year coaching for Evanston, estimated that it was the first time that ETHS had beaten New Trier in a singles match at sectionals in over 40 years.

“There was a lot of pressure, because the whole New Trier team was cheering against me, but I had to stay focused and play my best,” Pollard recalls. “After the match, it was a great feeling, because every year New Trier dominates us and they were the reigning state champs, so to beat one of their top players in the sectional semifinal was a really big deal.”

Aside from the tennis accomplishments, this spring saw record-breaking behavior in terms of weather as well. Stretching from March to May, it was one of the rainiest seasons Evanston has seen in decades, posing obstacles for the team.

“There were so many different times where we’d be ready to play a match, and all of a sudden, it’d be raining, and you can’t play tennis in the rain. About a third of our matches got canceled, which sucked,” says class of ‘22 varsity player Axel Mueller.

Despite the rainy roadblocks, tennis made the best of their season, finishing second in sectionals and 22nd in state, and they aim to only keep improving.

“[Next season], I think we’re going to improve and hopefully get three teams to state,” Plonus shares. In an effort to elevate from their 22nd state ranking, he remarks, “We’re hoping to be in the top fifteen finishers.”