Kirby Einck is in uncharted waters now — and she passed through in emphatic fashion.
Winning all three of her matches in straight sets Thursday in Palatine, the Geneva senior advanced to the fourth round of the state tennis tournament for the first time.
Einck (24-2), playing in her fourth and final state meet, capped off her breakthrough day by beating Stevenson’s Zoe Manion 6-4, 6-2.
“It’s awesome, it’s what I came here to do,” said the West Point-bound Einck, who went 4-2 the last two years at state. “But I can’t celebrate. I have a whole another day [Friday].”
That day will start at Buffalo Grove against Lyons freshman Meg Kowalski, a top four seed in the singles draw. Fourth-round and quarterfinal matches are on tap for Friday.
“I’ll be the lower-seeded player,” said Einck, slotted 17-32, “but I’m fine with being the underdog. All the pressure is on the other girl.”
Einck could be joined in the fourth round by Kaneland’s senior doubles team of Jelly Emmanouil and Madison Jurcenko (33-0).
A long, surreal day at Hoffman Estates was called with pending darkness with the Kaneland pair up a set on Young trailing 5-2 in the second of its third- round match.
Surreal, because near 11 a.m. and Kaneland leading 4-0 in the first set of its second match, tennis was halted when Hoffman Estates went into a “soft lockdown” due to a suspicious package.
The players were sent to the school gymnasium for two hours. After the all clear, Kaneland resumed its match, winning a three-setter. They then waited nearly two hours for Young to complete its three-set match with Naperville North.
“Exhausting, frustrating and really tiresome,” was how Emmanouil described a nearly 10-hour day at the court. “I just want to get some food and go to bed.”
Playing in their third state meet together, the Kaneland girls rallied from down 5-2 in the first set to win the tiebreaker 7-6 (7-2).
Coincidentally, they rallied in the same fashion against one-half of the same Young team two years ago.
Play will resume at 7:30 a.m. at Rolling Meadows.
“It is what it is,” Jurcenko said of the suspended match. “We had the same thing happen before here but it was rain. Honestly, I’d rather do this [Friday].”
The other member of the Kaneland senior class that has raised the tennis program’s profile set a new bar for herself.
Sammie Schrepferman knocked off Grant’s Gabby Schoenberg to get to the third round for the first time.
There Schrepferman ran into the 6-0, 6-1 buzzsaw that was Palatine freshman Asuka Kawai, a top eight seed.
Schrepferman lost a three-setter to Kawai in a USTA event earlier this year, but this was a different animal.
“She was just the better player [Thursday]. She could hit a winner from anywhere on the court,” Schrepferman said. “If she’s not the (state champion), something happened.”