Defending Southwestern Conference champion Edwardsville along with O’Fallon and Belleville East remained in a battle for the SWC Tournament title Saturday, following the first round of singles play at Kings Point Sports Club.
Scheduled to be hosted by Edwardsville High School, the doubles portion of the competition was moved to Kings Point and St. Clair Tennis Club in O’Fallon when thunderstorms hit the Metro-East. More rain Saturday forced the first round of singles to be held on the indoor courts at Kings Point.
Weather permitting, the final two rounds in all six flights will be played Monday at the Edwardsville Tennis Complex beginning at 3:30 p.m. Edwardsville, which defeated Belleville East 5-4 earlier this year, has already wrapped up a share of the league title.
Through doubles play, East and Edwardsville shared the lead with 21 points apiece, while O’Fallon is a point back with 20. Belleville West (15) and Alton (13) round out the top five.
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The Tigers finished the SWC regular season with a 7-0 mark.
But Friday, it was East which appeared ready to take charge of the tournament by winning the top two doubles flights.
The Lancers’ Kobe Phillips and Jacob Hamilton won the No. 1 doubles final, edging Edwardsville’s Jonathan Koons and Alex Grey 7-5, 6-3 in the final.
East also won the No. 2 doubles final, when Chase Stumne and Clayton Baldus defeated Dominic Macaluso and Riley Muren 6-2, 5-7, 10-7. This was the second time this season that East coach Dan Skaer split up Hamilton and Stumne for their matches against Edwardsville.
Hamilton and Stumne placed in the top 12 in doubles at state in 2014.
“To have a realistic chance it’s something we needed to do,’’ Skaer said. “Kobe (Phillips) really stepped up his game and we needed to play very well because Edwardsville’s No. 1 team is so strong.’’
Edwardsville’s Erik Weiler and Carson Ware got the Tigers back on track in the No. 3 doubles final, when they defeated Matt Lloyd and John Garry of O’Fallon 6-1, 6-1.
All three top teams — Edwardsville, East and O’Fallon — won in all six singles flights Saturday to move into the semifinals.
“We need to finish one point in front of Edwardsville in order to share the (SWC) title with them. That means we have to have an edge on them in singles,’’ Skaer said. “It won’t be easy because O’Fallon and Belleville West both have several good players that we may have to play before we would play Edwardsville in the finals.’’
Contact reporter Dean Criddle at firstname.lastname@example.org or 618-239-2661.