EDWARDSVILLE - Edwardsville's Chloe Koons went through to the singles semifinals, while the team of Hannah Colbert and Chloe Trimpe advanced to the last four in doubles, and Alton's Lydia Criveau went through to the quarterfinals before being eliminated on the opening day of the Illinois High School Association Class 2A girls tennis sectional tournament Friday afternoon and evening at the Edwardsville Tennis Center.

The team standings were unavailable at press time, but the Tigers and Redbirds had very good days, with Criveau winning her second-round match to advance to the quarterfinals, while Koons and the Colbert and Trimpe team played well to go through to the final four. In the case of Alton's team, the Redbirds played well all day.

"We got a win form our number one singles player, Lydia Criveau," said Alton head coach Jesse Macias, "Ainsley Fortschneider lost in the first round in three sets to O'Fallon; it was a great match. And our number one doubles team got a first-round win, then they got knocked out by a seeded team. So I think all in all, we're about doing how we thought we would. Lydia's in the quarterfinals, and she's got a chance to go to state, so that's really all you can ask for. All our girls played well today; this sectional is tough, but I really appreciate the effort the girls put in today. We're playing well."

Although the Redbirds' final record may not have shown it, the players worked hard all season, improving as the year went along.

"Our goal was to keep improving every match and every practice," Macias said, "and the girls did that. And they came out today, and really showed how far they have come. Like I said, when Lydia won her match, and she's in the quarters, the match could have gone either way. And we've got kids who are working hard, they can do a lot, and they have good attitudes, and they put in the effort. I'm happy where we are."

And along with the other players and coaches, Macias feels very grateful that the season was able to proceed without any hitches or cancellations because of the COVID-19 pandemic, although the sectional will be the only postseason tournament held this year.

"A couple of things on the season were kind of different," Macias said, "but the reality is the girls got to play, the girls get to see their friends every day. We're not in school, these girls get to come out and hang out with the team every day at practice, and some of the things are a little bit different, but at the end of the day, it's tennis, we get to compete, we get to see the other team and the other coaches, and I think we had a fun season. I appreciate having a season, and the girls did too, and we feel lucky. We feel fortunate we were fortunate to play our season."

In the singles, Koons, the Tigers' Grace Hackett and Criveau all received byes into the second round, where Koons defeated Springfield's Megan Becker 6-1, 6-1, then won her quarterfinal match over Glenwood's Nidhi Venigalla 6-2, 6-1. Meanwhile Hackett lost in the second round to Nischi Korrapti of Springfield 6-4, 7-6 (7-5 in the tiebreak), and was eliminated.

In the second round of the singles, Criveau won over Phoebe Hayes of Quincy 6-2, 6-1, but lost her quarterfinal match to Korrapti. The final score wasn't available at press time. Fortschneider was defeated by O'Fallon's Taylor 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 in the opening round.

In the doubles, Trimpe and Colbert received a bye into the second round, where they defeated O'Fallon's Kelsey Dismukes and Brooke Holland 6-1, 6-1, then won their quarterfinal match over Belleville West's Isabella Kreher and Mariella Pellmann 6-0, 6-1. The other doubles team of Emma Herman and Morgan Marshall opened in the second round with a 6-1, 6-3 win over Glenwood's Anna Chambers and Lauren Schrage, but lost a three set thriller to the Maroons' Hailey Neal and Alyssa Riley 6-3, 3-6, 6-4 in the quarterfinals.

For the Redbirds, Paige Rockholm and Anna Kane won their opener over a Springfield team 6-3, 2-6, 6-1, but lost in the second round to a Glenwood team 6-1, 6-0. Lydia Taul and Anna Sommerhof lost in the first round to a Belleville East team 6-0, 6-0.

The semifinals and finals of the sectional will take place at the Edwardsville Tennis Center Saturday morning, starting at 9 a.m. In the singles semis, Koons will meet O'Fallon's Gabi Schram, while Korrapti will play against Abigail McIssac of Belleville East. In the doubles semis, it'll be Colbert and Trimpe meeting the Lancers' Mia McIssac and Brodie Rauch, while Neal and Riley face Ali and Megan Mueller of O'Fallon in the other match. The finals will be played soon after.

The Redbirds will have much talent returning for the 2021 season, and Macias is looking ahead to a bright future for Alton girls tennis.

"We have a good junior and senior class," Macias said. "Anna Kane and Anna Sommerhof had really good years, and Amelia Redman was a great pickup; she was a first-year player. And we have a strong sophomore class; Lydia Taul is going to be back, and she's a good player. We've got a lot of kids like Anna Brady, who can come out and help us. We just have to work in the offseason. Next year, we could be even better, but we have to work in the off-season. Just take it one day at a time, and enjoy it. Get through this pandemic, and do what you can to enjoy it."

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Chris Rhodes also contributed to this story

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