Madi Jurcenko and Jelly Emmanouil hardly sounded like two girls who just lost their first match of the season.
Theirs was the tone of goals realized, program history made.
Advancing to the quarterfinals for the first time in their third state tennis meet together, the Kaneland doubles team on Friday dropped a 6-1, 6-0 decision to second-seeded Vinaya Rayo and Katherine Harvey of Stevenson.
Jurcenko and Emmanouil will play in a consolation bracket match Saturday in Rolling Meadows — coincidentally against the same Young team they beat in the third round Friday morning.
“It’s honestly surreal,” Jurcenko said. “Our goal was to make top 16; top eight was just icing on the cake. Everything from now on is better than what it could be.”
Jurcenko could only tip her hat to Stevenson’s team, also unbeaten on the season.
“Just the pace of the ball, they hit the ball so deep in the court — it was something we haven’t seen this season,” Jurcenko said. “We went out and gave it our best shot; they were just better players.”
Jurcenko and Emmanouil, 35-1, had their third match Thursday called due to darkness in the second set, but came back to beat Young 7-6, 3-6, 6-1, then won their third straight three-setter in rallying past Troy Triad’s Alexis and Kylie McCarthy 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 in the fourth round.
“It was exhausting to wake up at 6, and begin at 7, but it’s such a rewarding experience to make it to the quarters of the main draw,” Emmanouil said. “It’s been such a long journey with a lot of crushing defeats. It’s nice to have these wins under our belt.”
Geneva’s Kirby Einck, similarly, saw her day end in defeat — but not after posting a best-ever finish at state.
Through to the fourth round for the first time, Einck fell to Lyons freshman Meg Kowalski 6-3, 6-2. Kowalski, who has continued on to Saturday’s semifinals, is a familiar face to Einck as the two practice at the same club.
“I know her really well. She just had a better day,” Einck said. “She’s a really great player, nationally top 100.”
Einck remained alive by beating Bloomington Central Catholic’s Madison Tattini 6-4, 6-2 before bowing out with a 6-3, 6-2 loss to Hinsdale Central’s Sophia Haleas.
Playing in her fourth and final state meet, Einck went 4-2 for the third straight year — but her deepest advancement left her feeling content. Einck was slotted 17-32 in the singles draw.
“It’s all over now, but I did a lot better than I was projected to do,” Einck said. “I wanted to end today on my terms, playing my game, and I felt I did that.”
Kaneland senior Sammie Schrepferman, beaten in a third-round match Thursday, topped South Elgin’s Lisa Derowski 6-1, 6-1 in their first back-draw match Friday before losing to Tattini 6-0, 6-4.
Oswego East junior Jaiere Harlow won three consolation matches after a first-round loss, but was knocked out with a 6-3, 6-2 loss to Maine South’s Leigh Friedman on Friday morning.