Six games into Saturday's match against Rolling Meadows' Mack Galvin, St. Charles East senior Jasper Koenen found himself in an unexpected hole.
Koenen trailed 4-2 in the first set but pulled out a 6-4, 6-1 victory against Galvin, the highest-rated returnee in the Mid-Suburban League.
"I'm definitely off to a good start this season," Koenen said after improving to 7-0. "I was hoping for a fast start. It was nice to play a tough match. I needed that early this season, something to push me. I had a great comeback. It was definitely needed to keep me motivated."
The Saints didn't open the season until last week, when they played seven matches in six days. Koenen finished fourth at state last season after losing to eventual champion Martin Joyce of Hinsdale Central in a semifinal. Koenen is targeting several goals this season.
"I really want to be in East's 100-win club," he said. "I need 10 or 11 to reach 100. I didn't compete in the conference tournament last season, but have won three straight sectional titles. I would like to win both. I'm just focusing on each match."
"I had a long recruiting process with a lot of different options and choices," he said. "I was hoping to go down south, but my game is better suited for the indoors. I also wanted to go to a school that was good at a lot of different sports, and I want to work in the hospitality business and Michigan State is a good school for that. I felt not a lot of schools offer that."
As a team, the Saints are off to a 6-1 start after opening last season with two straight losses and 3-4 record.
"We're off to a good start and playing a lot better than last season," St. Charles East coach Robert Livermore said. "Jasper's been a big key. He had a nice win Saturday, and is playing very good."