Boys Tennis: Galoustian, Trevians ready to do battle at State
Northfield Saturday, 5/19/12 New Trier's Alex Galoustain during his singles semifinal match at Saturday's Sectional meet hosted by New Trier High School. Galaustain was the singles champion as New Trier players captured first and second place at both singles and doubles. | Brian O'Mahoney~for Sun-Times Media
Updated: July 2, 2012 8:07AM
New Trier sophomore Alex Galoustian was not expecting to play singles at sectionals this season.
But that changed earlier this month, when the Trevians’ top two singles players, Jared and Aron Hiltzik, left the team. Their departure created an opening for Galoustian, who had been playing doubles, and he’s made the most of the opportunity.
The lefty nabbed the singles title Saturday at the New Trier sectional, defeating teammate Rob Jacobson 6-3, 6-3 in the championship match.
“I kind of wasn’t expecting to win, but it worked out well in the end,” said Galoustian, who begins play in the state meet today (Thursday). “I used to play doubles and transferred to singles. It’s kind of new for me, but I’ve been improving.”
Galoustian battled an elbow injury early in his high school career and was unable to crack New Trier’s loaded postseason lineup last season. He has played fewer national tournaments than many of the state’s top competitors, but New Trier head coach Tad Eckert said the youngster could make a name for himself at state.
“Alex really has come on,” Eckert said. “I always thought he was talented. He doesn’t have the high (national) rankings that some kids in the state have. But this season, he’s proven he can play with anybody. I think he will get a pretty good seed and hopefully be able to spill some upsets. I think he has the talent to do it. Alex is a fiery competitor, and he really moves well and can hit. He has shots from all over the court. He knows what he can do. I’m not sure the rest of the state does. But I think they’re going to find out.”
Like Galoustian, Rob Jacobson had primarily been a doubles player, having starred with his twin brother, Nate, for several years. But after Jacobson moved into the singles spot, he showed his potential at the sectional by earning a 6-3, 6-4 win over No. 1 seed Dave Bacalla of Niles North in the semifinal.
“We needed guys to step up and fill some singles points,” Eckert said. “Rob kind of took the bull by the horns, and has really progressed nicely. (Reaching the sectional final) was the culmination of the hard work he has put in on the singles court. It’s not an easy road all the time in singles — it’s a lot of hard work — but he’s up to the task. Rob earned (the singles spot) with his play, and showed that he belongs.”
New Trier also will have two doubles teams at state.
Senior Nate Jacobson paired with junior David Laser. Coincidently, two years ago Jacobson won a sectional match over Laser, who was playing singles for North Shore Country Day.
On Saturday, they defeated Evanston’s Ben Bleier and Adam Collins 6-4, 6-3 in the semifinal, and then secured a 6-4, 6-4 win over New Trier’s top doubles team of junior Alex Mang and senior Arthur Ozga.
“Jacobs and Laser lost to Mang and Ozga a couple of weeks ago at the Deerfield Invite, and they had a little revenge on their minds,” Eckert said. “They seemed energetic to go out there and try to win a match.”
New Trier has won two straight state titles, but Eckert said the Trevians will enter this year’s big meet as the underdogs behind Hinsdale Central.
“They are the favorites,” he said. “Hopefully, we’ll give them our best shot. They’re as good as advertised. They are going to come in with high seeds in all four positions. We’re going to have to play well and hope we get a little luck along the way. It’s possible. We’ve done it before. We were the favorite last year and we came through, but sometime the underdog wins. That’s what we’re hoping for (this year).”