By HUNTER TICKEL
Herald-Whig Sports Writer
There is some unfinished business the Quincy High School boys tennis team wants to attend to this spring.
A year ago, an inexperienced group matured as the season went along and nearly captured the program's first sectional title since 2007. The two-point loss to Chatham Glenwood stuck with the Blue Devils and has become their motivation.
"I think the guys are focused on (a sectional title)," QHS coach Mike Terry said. "We felt we should have won it last year, but we didn't."
The difference this year is the lineup is set and is top-heavy with experience.
It starts with two seniors -- Collin Adams and Tom O'Connor -- who teamed up to win three matches in doubles play at the state tournament last year and should be favored to win a sectional title this year.
"We've known each other for a while, since we went to Quincy Racquet Club," said Adams, who transferred from Quincy Notre Dame a year ago. "I don't know the exact age. We have practiced with each other over the summer. We would do camps that have everybody together. We would play every once in a while, but once we got here, we seemed to click pretty well."
It was almost instantaneous.
"They have played a whole year together," Terry said. "He and Tom hit it off the week we started. That was the first (pair) we tried. They are a good team. They kind of caught fire at the end of the season."
Adams and O'Connor nearly pulled off a stunner in the Western Big Six Conference tournament, falling to Moline's Pranav Puri and Jed Wood 7-5, 6-4 in the championship match.
That set the stage for the run to state.
However, the No. 1 doubles team wasn't alone in that.
Andrew Fauble reached the state tournament in singles as a freshman, finishing third in the WB6 and second at sectionals. He then went 2-2 at the state tournament, setting the stage for more success as he matures.
"A goal of mine would be to win sectionals, compete for the title in Western Big Six, maybe win a match or two more at state," Fauble said.
Fauble handled the challenge of adjusting to varsity competition with relative ease, largely because of his experience at the junior level.
"I've been pretty used to it because growing up most weekends in the winter I would travel and play in out-of-town tournaments," Fauble said. "I've just gotten used to it. It wasn't too big of a transition going into high school and playing every weekend."
Finding the right mix in the varsity lineup was a little tougher.
"Last year, eight people traveled to tournaments," O'Connor said. "I was the only person on the team that had played in those varsity tournaments. We didn't know what to expect. We had so many new faces. We just kept evolving as the year went on. Four that were in the top eight, none them ended the year in the top eight. It switched a lot. I think we ended up surprising ourselves by the end of the season."
It enabled the Blue Devils to challenge Moline for the WB6 title.
"We are never expected to win WB6 because Moline has won (26 of the past 28)," O'Connor said.
This year, those expectations might change.
"Last year, they didn't really expect us to come as close to beating Moline as we did," Fauble said. "This year, they are going to be scared I think."
The Blue Devils are going to need some younger players, such as sophomores Noah Aschemann, Jacob Smith and Jack Stevenson, to continue to improve to put pressure on anyone.
"A different mix than what we normally have," Terry said.
But it's a mix with some unfinished business motivating it.