Belleville West junior Kayleigh Thurwalker had not lost a single match to a player from Ilinois heading into the first day of the girls state tennis tournament on Thursday in suburban Chicago.
That streak is still alive.
Down a set to Alex Mella of (Gurnee) Warren, Thurwalker rallied for a 3-6, 6-2, 7-5 win in a third-round singles match to help lead the way for metro-east players.
Playing in 40-degree temperatures and windy conditions, Thurwalker breezed through her first two rounds before outlasting Mella, who is a top-32 seed
Thurwalker (32-2) is seeded in the Nos. 9-through-16 group.
"I didn't see Kayleigh play, but in talking to (assistant) coach Bob Keefe, he said she played well all day. I'm not familiar with Mella, but she must be a pretty good player to be seeded in the top 32 players,'' West coach Jenny Mennerick said. "Kayleigh is in the round of 16 now and while it's going to get tougher from here on out, she's got a chance, if she plays well, to win her next match and get into the quarterfinals.''
The round of 16 matches is set for this morning at sites throughout the Chicago suburbs. Quarterfinal matches are also scheduled today, with competition also continuing in the consolation bracket.
A second West entry, the doubles team of Blair Hollenbeck and Gabi Papachrisanthou, won two of three matches and will play in the consolation bracket this morning.
Also playing in the consolation bracket will be Belleville East seniors Rebecca McIsaac and Savannah Martin, who won their first two matches before dropping a third-round doubles match.
It also was a good day for the Edwardsville Tigers, who are in ninth place with 15 points.
Lake Forest leads with 24 points, followed by Hinsdale Central and (Winnetka) New Trier with 22 points apiece.
The Tigers also will be represented in the round of 16 after the doubles team of Mallory Abert and Megan LaRose rallied for a dramatic 7-6, 3-6, 7-6 win over Jenny Mizikar and Amelia Cogan of Batavia in the third round.
"They were down 5-4 in the third set, were able to even the match and get it into a tiebreaker where they won," Edwardsville coach Dave Lipe said. "It was a great comeback by those two players.
"In all it was a good day. To have three entries still playing in the second day with a chance to score some more points for the team and move on in the draws is huge for us.''
Also in action Friday for the Tigers will be the doubles team of Morgan Colbert and Maddie Lombardi and singles player Callaghan Adams. Both entries went 2-1 in the early rounds.
Winning one match before bowing out with consolation-round losses were singles players Alexis McCarthy of Triad, Tori Lindsay of O'Fallon and Emily Lombardi of Edwardsville.
Local doubles teams finishing with 1-2 records and eliminated from further competition were Nikki Steiner and Katelyn Foppe of Triad, Olivia Scaturro and Maddie Swiecicki of Collinsville and Emma Melichar and Madelyn Skinner of Althoff.