The dream of a Class 1A girls state tennis tournament medal remained alive for Althoff seniors Emma Melichar and Madelyn Skinner on Thursday in suburban Chicago.
Sectional champions a week ago, the Melichar-Skinner tandem defeated Christa Schwinke and Audra Breer of Teutopolis 6-4, 6-4 in a second-round match and will play a round of 16 match beginning at 9 a.m. Friday at Wheeling High School.
Seeded in the top four in the doubles draw, Melichar and Skinner will take on Mary Grevas and Ellie Rouse of Rock Island Alleman in their third-round match. A win would move the Crusaders pair into the quarterfinals later on Friday. Althoff’s other state tournament entry — Mary Nester and Olivia Melichar — won two of three matches on Thursday and remain alive in the consolation bracket.
Melichar and Skinner were one of three metro-east entries to advance into the round of 16 during the first day of play at the state finals. Also in Class 1A, eighth-seeded Triad senior Kylie McCarthy rolled to a pair of easy wins in the singles draw, while in Class 2A, third-seeded Grace Desse and Morgan Colbert of Edwardsville moved on with a pair of close wins.
The top singles player in southern Illinois — in either Class 1A or Class 2A — McCarthy lost just two games in two matches on Thursday and will take on Caroline Arnold of (Lisle) Benet Academy in her round of 16 match.
McCarthy’s dominance on Thursday came as no surprise to Knights coach Devan Faulkeneberg, who has watched his No. 1 player win 29 of 30 matches this season.
“I think the fact that she has been here (state finals) is a big help because she knows what to expect. There were no nerves today. Kylie just went out and played two very good matches,” Faulkenberg said. “The girl she plays on Friday beat a pair of 9-16 seeds today and obviously is a very good player. But I believe its a match Kylie can win. She’s such a great athlete.”
Also still alive in the consolation bracket after winning two of three matches are Highland’s doubles team of Kirsten Plocher and Elisabeth Meadows. Mascoutah’s Emma Wieland lost both of her matches on Thursday and was eliminated.
Colbert-Desse romp in Class 2A
The dominant doubles team in southern Illinois, Edwardsville’s Grace Desse and Morgan Colbert rolled past Michelle He amd Stacy Wei of Aurora Metea Valley 6-2, 6-2, in their second-round match and will take on Sara Amano and Nidhi Jha of Barrington in a round of 16 match on Friday.
Like Althoff’s Emma Melichar and Madelyn Skinner and Triad’s Kylie McCarthy, Desse and Colbert were not pushed on Thursday, losing only six games in four sets of tennis.
“They played very well and beat an excellent doubles team from Matea Valley,” Tigers coach David Lipe said of his top doubles tandem. “Acutally, all four of our entries played veryw ell. But once you get to this level, every team is good.”
Edwardsville’s Natalie Karibian remained alive in the consolation bracket after winning two of three matches, while the Tigers’ Mackenzie Cadagin and Maria Mezo (doubles) and Abby Cimarolli (singles) were eliminated on Thursday.
Also losing two matches and dropped from further competition at the state finals were the Belleville East doubles pair of Chloe McIsaac and Isabel Burwitz. O’Fallon lost all three of its entries as singles players Mackenzie Shelton and Katie Halwachs along with the doubles combination of Miley Brunner and Kate Macaluso combined to drop six of seven matches.