ALTON — The Edwardsville Tigers spent most of the 2013 season demolishing every local foe who crossed their path as they rolled to a 13th straight Southwestern Conference tennis championship.
But with the start of the Alton Sectional just a day away, Tigers coach David Lipe had a somewhat guarded outlook Thursday afternoon
"There's no question that we had an outstanding season. But that's in the past. We're looking ahead to playing in what I think is a very tough Alton Sectional this weekend,'' Lipe said. "For one, you've got Triad, which is the top team in their (Mississippi Valley) conference and has some excellent players, and several other teams have very good players.
"We're not taking anything for granted. We want to come out and be focused from the first point on and play to the best of our ability.''
Play at Alton High School begins at 1 p.m. today, with three full rounds of competition in both singles and doubles. Semifinals and finals are set for 9 a.m. on Saturday.
Netmen from Marquette, Alton, Civic Memorial, Metro East Lutheran, Jerseyville, Roxana and Wood River also are in the field.
The Alton Sectional is one of four in the area involving local teams. Others are being held at Belleville West, Carbondale and Centralia High Schools.
The top four finishers in both singles and doubles advance to the IHSA state tennis tournament, May 23-25 in the Chicago suburbs.
Edwardsville, which was perfect last week in sweeping to the SWC title, has both the top seeds in singles (Brandon Harris) and doubles (Logan Ware and Jack Desse).
Belleville West Sectional
Mascoutah senior Josh Lightner and Belleville East junior Aaron Skaer are the top two seeds in singles heading into competition, which begins at 1 p.m. on Friday.
Althoff, Collinsville, Granite City and Waterloo also are in the field.
The Crusaders' Joey Bartholomew is the third seed in singles in a tournament which should feature city foes -- East and West --battling for the team honors.
"I'd like to be able to get all six of my players through to the state tournament. I'm a little concerned about Zach Fields getting out. He's got a tough draw and will have to beat a good kid in the quarterfinals to get out,'' East coach Dan Skaer said. "We've had a great year. It would be nice to get everybody out."
The Lancers have the top seed in doubles, where Lucas Birk and Adam Youck are the team to beat. The West duo of Adam Seppi and Cole Henke is seeded second.
Semifinals and finals are set for 8:30 a.m. on Saturday.
Gibault is competing at the Carbondale Sectional, while Highland and O'Fallon are at the Centralia Sectional.