Tigers pair still alive at state

The Edwardsville High School girls tennis doubles team of Morgan Colbert and Grace Desse won’t be bringing home a state title from the Illinois High School Association Girls State Tennis Tournament on Saturday. But they will be briging home medals and the honor of being all-state tennis players.

After dropping a heartbreaking Sweet 16 match earlier in the day on Friday, Colbert and Desse rebounded with a pair of consolation round wins and could still place as high as fifth when the 2015 state finals that will conclude on Saturday in suburban Chicago.

Sectional champions, Colbert and Desse lost to Danielle Burich and Erika Oku, of Hinsdale Central, 6-4, 7-6 (7-4) in their first match on Friday, but defeated Shelby Johnson and Madelynn Jurasek, of Aurora Christian, 6-1, 6-1 then clinched all-state honors with a 6-2, 6-3 triumph over Anna Donoghue and Nidhi Jha of Barrington in a seventh round consolation round match.

Assured of a top eight finish, Colbert and Desse will play in the consolation quarterfinals on Saturday morning and with a win in that match, will play for fifth place in the state finals later in the day.

“It was a good day,” veteran Tigers coach David Lipe said in a phone interview from Chicago. “We came into today (Friday) with three entries and all three played some very good tennis against very strong players.

“I’m very pleased and proud of how Morgan and Grace played today. They lost a real toughy fourth round match, but they were strong enough to come back and win a couple matches in consolation and are playing tomorrow (Saturday) at the state tournament. That’s an accomplishment in itself.”

The Tigers’ other two entries — the doubles team of Maria Mezo and Mackenzie Cadagin and singles player Callaghan Adams both bowed out on Friday with consolation round losses. The Tigers are currently tied for sixth in the team competition with 17 points.

The season also ended on for three entries from Belleville. Althoff junior Emma Melichar finished with a 4-2 mark at state with a fourth round consolation round loss while the Belleville East tandem of Isabel Burwitz and Rylan Lopez finished 3-2 with a fourth round loss in the consolation bracket.

The top performance by a Belleville entry was turned in by the pair of Ellen Binnion and Kaylie Comley from Belleville West

After dropping a third round match to Desse and Colbert on Thursday, Comley and Binnion rallied to win two matches on Friday before bowing out in the sixth round of consolation. Binnion and Comley finished 4-2 in the state finals.

Dean Criddle: 618-239-2661, @CriddleDean