Boys Tennis: Loyola soph Arocho nets spot st state meet
Northfield Saturday, 5/19/12 Loyola Academy's Anthony Arocho during his singles semifinal match at Saturday's Sectional meet hosted by New Trier High School. | Brian O'Mahoney~for Sun-Times Media
Updated: July 2, 2012 8:07AM
Loyola boys tennis player Anthony Arocho’s sectional run may have, once again, ended with a loss to Niles North’s Dave Bacalla, but it did not end in disappointment for the Ramblers sophomore.
In 2011, Arocho — a No. 5 seed in singles — fell to Bacalla in the quarterfinals of the New Trier sectional, narrowly missing out on qualifying for the state meet. But Arocho entered this season’s sectional, in Northfield, as the No. 3 seed, thus avoiding a top-four player until the semifinals.
Though he dropped his semifinal and third-place matches — the latter to Bacalla — on Saturday, Arocho did so after having secured a spot in the 2012 state meet, which begins today (Thursday).
Arocho (15-7) said he’s looking forward to his state-meet debut, and hopes to start making a name for himself.
“I wanted to do well (at sectionals) mainly to start building a reputation,” Arocho said. “(At state) I hope to win a few matches in the main draw. I expect to do well — lasting three or four (matches) would be ideal. After that, (success depends) on whether I’m confident, and stuff like that.”
Arocho opened sectional play on Friday with a 6-1, 6-1 win over Evanston’s Illan Ireland, and then dispatched North Shore Country Day’s Dylan Ball 6-1, 6-0 to secure a berth.
The Loyola star fell to eventual champion Alex Galoustian of New Trier 6-4, 7-5 on Saturday, before losing to Bacalla 6-3, 6-1. Bacalla is a player Norridge resident Arocho knows well, and practices with occasionally.
Arocho said the major difference between his freshman year and this season is his ability, and confidence, to play a more aggressive style of tennis.
“Last year, I stayed back a lot and didn’t come in (to the net),” he said. “This year, I’ve been trying to be more aggressive. Before, I would wait for opportunities, wait until I got the short ball (to come forward). Now, I’m kind of like forcing that short ball. I’m committing myself to it instead of rallying back there.”
Loyola assistant coach Elia Daoud said added size and strength has benefitted Arocho.
“He’s grown about four inches (since last year), and he’s getting bigger and hitting a much bigger ball,” the coach said. “He’s always been kind of a grinder, and he’s a really patient tennis player. This year, he’s kind of developing some weapons, and we’ve been working on that through the year — ways he can close off points.”
Arocho is the only Loyola player preparing for a match at State. He was scheduled to practice with some former Ramblers stars, including Lawson Barter, Patrick Hughes and Jack Weisenberger, who have returned from college for the summer.
The Ramblers’ No. 1 doubles team of seniors Ryan Donohue and Riley Jacobs defeated a Niles North duo before falling to Evanston’s Sam Wiener and Connor Woolf, who went on to nab third place.
Other Loyola participants at the sectional were the doubles team of senior Franco Capitanini and junior Jake Sexton, and junior singles player Patrick Rourke.