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Joliet West's Junior Jack Carney (right) and senior Collin Shea (left) warm-up during practice. | Matthew Grotto~Sun-Times Media

In the 1970s and early 1980s, the Carney family made a lot of noise in the Joliet area.

Brothers Tom, Jim, Mike, Paul, Pat and Brian enjoyed varying degrees of tennis success on the high school level, and some went on to play in college. Tom went to Iowa to continue his career.

A few decades have passed, and now Tom’s two kids, Jack and Tom, are keeping the Carney name thriving. The Joliet co-op players are two of the best tennis players in the area and have won three consecutive individual sectional titles.

Jack, a senior, won the sectional crown as a freshman and sophomore. He was moved to doubles as a junior with Collin Shea, and they won the sectional title in 2012, the same year Tom beat fellow freshman Nick Urban of Lemont for the individual sectional title.

Jack recently signed to play college tennis at Northern Kentucky and no longer feels pressure to uphold the family name.

‘‘When you thought of tennis, you thought of the Carneys,’’ Jack said. ‘‘A few years ago, I felt the pressure a little bit because they all played tennis in college. I’ve committed, so it’s a monkey off my back. I’m excited that I’ve done the family proud.’’

Tom said he doesn’t feel any more pressure carrying on the family name.

‘‘I don’t think the name is a big deal,’’ he said. ‘‘I just go out there and try my best. I don’t let that stuff get to me.’’

Veteran Joliet coach Kit Gillman, who played doubles with Jim Carney years ago, said he is happy having Jack and Tom on his roster.

‘‘It’s always cool to have them back,’’ Gillman said. ‘‘It’s a real nice family. It’s always nice to have a tennis family in the school. I don’t have to do a lot of work with them. They all come prepared and ready to go, and they know exactly what to do.’’

This year, Jack is playing No. 1 singles and Tom is at No. 2. Come May, there might be some wars with Urban for the sectional title.

‘‘That’s where it could end up this year,’’ Gillman said. ‘‘Last year, if Tom had not won that match against Urban, Lemont would have won the sectional. That match was the swing. So Tom won, and we were fortunate enough to win that. It will be quite dramatic there. They have some good doubles teams and two very good singles players. We were lucky and fortunate we pulled it out last year.’’

It’s no surprise the Carneys were introduced to the sport at an early age, given their bloodlines.

‘‘The first sport I remember playing was otennis when I was real young,’’ Jack said. ‘‘Then I got serious about it when I was 6. For a while I played baseball, but in fifth or sixth grade I played tennis only because I liked it a lot better. It’s treated me great.’’

‘‘I was pretty much raised with tennis and played it my entire life, and I love it,’’ Tom said. ‘‘My uncle Jim and my dad helped me a lot. Jack helps a lot because we play a lot. He’s been beating me more because I’ve been playing basketball the past two years. Basketball has made me quicker on my feet. And tennis helps my basketball, too.’’

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