Geneseo's Emma Dunker and Mary Thomas earned a first-round doubles win at IHSA Class 1A state tennis tournament.

Geneseo’s Emma Dunker and Mary Thomas earned a first-round doubles win at IHSA Class 1A state tennis tournament.

With the first day of the state tournament extended to three matches, it was a long day for the Lady Leafs duo at Rolling Meadows High School on Oct. 18.

The Lady Leafs started the day having to battle back for a 4-6, 6-2, 7-6 (4) victory over Marian’s Taylor Trojan and Lilli Hansen.

“It was probably our best match of the day,” Geneseo Coach Kevin Reed said. “We really had confidence and going into it, and we knew that it was going to be close, but we kept battling.”

The duo from Marian was undefeated coming into the tournament, but Reed believed the two teams were very similar in ability.

The difference was the Lady Leafs were able to minimize mistakes in a windy and sunny environment.

“We took advantage of some of their mistakes and that was the key,” Reed said. “We took advantage of the errors. It was a very close match going to a third set tiebreaker.”

After not playing a ranked team in the opening round, Geneseo ran into Metamora’s Mara Boast and Madi Brinkman who were seeded 9-16 at the tournament.

The duo from Metamora earned a 6-2, 6-3 victory, and with concerns about the weather, Geneseo had to play a third match to potential advance to the next day.

“The next step will be we have to be to win a match against a ranked team or be a 9-16 team,” Reed said. “They just hit the ball a little bit harder and they put the ball away at the net. That’s the one thing we couldn’t do, and the other team capitalized on our mistakes in this match.”

Geneseo fell in the consolation round match against Lake Villa’s Kylie Jozwik and Melissa Variny 6-2, 6-2 to eliminate them from the tournament.

“I think we kind of beat ourselves a little bit,” Reed said. “But the other team didn’t make mistakes. It felt like we were tired, but it was just a long day of tennis.”

With both players returning next season, Reed had the girls scout the other elite teams at state and see what set them apart.

“We took Ava Bieneman and Alli Miller as hitting partners, but also to look ahead and see what they need to work on,” Reed said. “I think that’s the big take away to prepare for next year and go back and talk to the girls and start working on some things.”