Homestead boys tennis team wins the Nicolet 16 Invitational

Nicolet and Bay also do well

May 14, 2014

Homestead boys tennis coach Jackie Egelhoff knows that David Frank, the coach of multi-time state champion Marquette, is an honest, direct individual who doesn't like to make excuses.

And Frank didn't make any excuses when the Highlanders beat the Hilltoppers, 5-2, in the finals of the Nicolet 16 Invitational on a rare sunny, May 10 afternoon, despite his squad being short three players.

But Egelhoff also prides herself on honesty, and she knows that although every win against Marquette is to be coveted and treasured, she's not about to let herself do cartwheels about it.

Because she knew who she was dealing with.

"He really is quite nice," she said of Frank, "and he never does make excuses, but reality is reality. I'm not going to take credit for what I shouldn't."

Just to emphasize that point, the two powerhouses had a non-conference dual two days later when the Hilltoppers were closer to full strength and wouldn't you know, Marquette won 4-3.

Still, it was a heartening display, said Egelhoff, whose team routed Oconomowoc (7-0), beat Brookfield Central (5-2), and downed Middleton (5-2) before pulling out the win over Marquette in the invite.

It was heartening, because Egelhoff now has a full team after playing the first part of the season short-handed due to off-the-court issues.

And it was heartening, because Egelhoff got a chance to try different combinations during the tournament.

"Yes, I still don't know what I'm doing in certain spots," she laughed. "We just tried some different combinations."

At one point, second singles player Will Kammerait and Chase Gabriel were together at first doubles while Jason Jesse and Patrick Findling were at second doubles. She was also happy that adjustments worked out in other ways as regular singles player Aaron Rempel was somewhat limited this past weekend because of a hip flexor issue.

Daniel Wichman's win at fourth singles provided the match-clinching victory for the Highlanders.

But there is no time to rest. Following Marquette, the Highlanders had a busy, rain-influenced slate that included Germantown on May 13, Nicolet on May 14 and will host Whitefish Bay on Thursday, May 15. This weekend, they will be at the Manitowoc Invitational.

And even given Marquette's situation last weekend, Egelhoff and Homestead will happily accept the hardware that came with the title.

"It's always a prestigious meet," she said. "We should take pride in it, because it's something that doesn't happen every day."

Other strong finishes

Also at the Nicolet meet, the host Knights took a strong third. Meanwhile, after losing in the first round, Whitefish Bay won the back-draw.

Nicolet beat Oshkosh North, 6-1, and edged University School, 4-3, before being edged by Marquette, 4-3, in the semifinals. The Knights then bounced back to beat Middleton, 4-3, in the third-place match.

Nicolet coach Tim Koppa, who has been organizing the event for many years, was stunned at how good the weather was last weekend.

"(It's been) at least four to five years since that happened," he said.

He was also pleased with the tennis.

"It was a pretty good couple of days for us," he said, "though it was disappointing to lose to Marquette. Rafi Barash had a good match at fourth singles, but he lost 7-5 in the third. It was a great match, though."

He was also pleased with the win over Division 2 state power University School. Koppa said he's still experimenting with his top two doubles positions.

Of special note, Koppa said, is the play of third singles player Brett Conard, who hasn't lost since "he can't remember when" and went 4-0 on the weekend..

"All his card work is really shining through," Koppa said.

Bay coach Phil Kelbe was also pleased with the play of his team. The Blue Dukes had a rough opening draw and fell to Middleton, 5-2, but then came back to beat Sheboygan North 7-0, Hartland Arrowhead, 4-3, and Madison Memorial, 7-0, to claim the back-draw.

"We're not making excuses, it was a tough first-round match," said Kelbe, "but it was still a close match (with Middleton). Everything would have had to have gone perfect to win. The whole team contributed, singles and doubles. It was a good tournament for us in the end."

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