The Edwardsville Tigers found themselves in sixth place in the team standings after the first day of the three-day state tournament in Chicagoland.
Edwardsville compiled 14 points — 5 in singles and 9 in doubles — and has two entries still alive entering Friday.
“To have two entries still alive and to be in the top 10 at the end of the first day is great,” EHS head coach Dave Lipe said via telephone Thursday. “Everybody competed and got at least one point for the team and that's even better.”
The talented tandem of sophomore Alex Gray and freshman Zach Trimpe remain undefeated in the doubles bracket. They will battle Sebastien DesRoberts and Rohan Gupta of Glenview (Glenbrook South) in the fourth round of the championship flight today.
On Thursday, Gray and Trimpe got three wins. They bested Brad Wheeler and Lucas Petre of Moline 6-1, 6-0, beat Andy Hinch and Joe Demirjian of Mount Zion 6-0, 6-0 and topped Nolan George and Jack Wu of Naperville (Neuqua Valley) 6-3, 6-2 in dominant fashion.
“For a young doubles team they are playing better doubles than they've played all year,” Lipe said. “They're loose but they're focused and I don't think they're really worried about things, I think they're enjoying where they are. I saw all their matches today and they were very, very dominant in their first two and very, very good in their last one. They beat three quality teams.”
Erik Weiler advanced to Friday in singles for the Tigers. He went 3-1 on Thursday and heads into his fourth round consolation match vs. Quinten Nevenhoven of Rockford Auburn on Friday.
Lipe was very happy with his junior, who is a three-time state qualifier for Edwardsville.
Weiler prevailed over Quinten Nevenhoven of Quincy 6-0, 6-4 in the first round before falling to Kailash Panchapakesan of Algonquin (Jacobs) 4-6, 6-1, 6-3 in the second round. He recovered to beat Christian Cowulich of Belleville East 6-2, 6-2 and Perry Hoag of Homewood Flossmoor 7-6 (1), 6-2.
Weiler was not seeded entering the state tournament, which Lipe thinks helped light a fire under him on Thursday.
“He had a very physically challenging day today,” Lipe said. “He played four singles matches in a lot of heat and he played four good players. I think he feels like the best match he played today was actually his loss. He got a set off him and it wound up being a three hour match. Erik played nine hours of tennis today.
“I think Erik felt slighted that he wasn't seeded. There were two local players who were seeded (O'Fallon's Dominic Macaluso and Belleville East's Max Skaer) in 17-32 and Erik was not. Erik felt he should have been seeded and those two players are out of the tournament and Erik is still in. Not that that was his motivation, but he is motivated just to win.”
EHS' other singles entry, senior Luke Motley went 1-2 on Thursday while the doubles team of senior Carson Ware and Seth Lipe went 2-2. Both entries saw their seasons come to an end, but Lipe was proud of their efforts, too.
“I'm happy for our two seniors that ended their careers today in Carson Ware and Luke Motley,” Lipe said. “I'm happy for our freshman Seth Lipe. Three of our kids are out of the tournament and three of our kids are still playing and we'll play tomorrow.”
Edwardsville is looking for its sixth top-10 finish at state since 2003. The Tigers' best placement at state was fourth in 2007.
Marquette Catholic's Jon Claywell and Alton's Silas Chapman unfortunately saw their seasons end on Thursday.
Claywell lost 6-0, 6-0 to Tytus Metzler of Rockford (Auburn) and John King of Aurora (Marmion Academy) 6-1, 6-1 in his two matches.
Chapman fell 6-1, 6-0 to Christopher Veltkamp of Streamwood and 6-2, 6-4 to Jack Marvel of Ottawa Township.