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 April 25, 2013

GRAYSLAKE, Ill. --- Coming into the 2013 season, Prairie State College head men's tennis coach Patrick Reichard knew that his team's potential truly had no limits.

Wednesday afternoon the Pioneers proved that their head coach's hunch was an accurate one.

Prairie State (10-1, 6-0), courtesy of a 9-0 triumph over Lake County, completed a sweep through the Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference schedule,thus locking up the program's first league title.

Wednesday's triumph was PSC's fourth white-washing of the season.

"This was a special day for Prairie State College," Reichard said. "Our players gave an extraordinary effort to win 9-0 against College of Lake County."

Freshman Jeremy Horvath (Crete-Monee H.S.) closed out Wednesday's singles play with a win in the sixth slot.

"Jeremy had the last win at sixth singles, and the team lifted him up on their shoulders afterward," Reichard said. "That was a really symbolic moment because all the guys, at one time or another, have lifted each other up. It was an amazing way to cap the regular season. Now, we have to lift each other up in the regional tournament."

Horvath's win pushed his season record to 7-0 with a conference mark of 5-0.

Freshman Kevaughn Ferguson (Westminster College, Bahamas) moved to 10-1 with his win in the top singles spot.

Sophomore Tyler Carter (Thornwood H.S.) picked up a triumph at No.2 while sophomore Jack Schumann (Andrew H.S.) did the same at third singles.  Freshman Kodie Hayes (Homewood-Flossmoor H.S.) and freshman Victor Villegas (T.F. South H.S.) also triumphed at third through fifth singles.

PSC top doubles tandem of Ferguson and Schumann moved to 8-2 on the season while the no. 2 duo of Carter and Villegas improved to 8-1.

Hayes and Horvath moved to 7-0 at No. 3.

As impressive as PSC's championship effort is, an even more significant aspect of it is the fact that the Pioneers' program is just in its fourth year of existence. 

"Four years seems like a pretty short time," Reichard said. "I'm not sure if there is a team out there that outworks us. As a team and staff we've worked hard to get where we are.

"Not many schools have the support staff that we have either. While tennis overall may not be the most popular of sports, at Prairie State it certainly does have a high profile, and we appreciate that."

The Pioneers will now move onto the NJCAA Region IV Tournament, beginning Friday at Moraine Valley (2 p.m.).

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