The West Suburban Silver is good preparation for the girls state tennis tournament, at least until you bump into a Silver rival.
Take the case of Glenbard West doubles team Grace Norgaard and Drew Menzel. Playing York's Blaire Porter and Angela Avgerinos for a third time this season in the third round Thursday at Conant High School, 17-32 seeds Norgaard and Menzel gave 5-8 seeds Porter and Avgerinos all they could handle before losing 6-2, 1-6, 6-3.
"It's prepared us," said Menzel, who will move with her teammate into the fourth round of consolation bracket play Friday. "I think we can go far."
"And all of them are seeded," Norgaard added of their league rivals. "It's kind of a bummer, but it's also fun because we get really good competition."
The York duo had won their previous two meetings in straight sets, but the Glenbard West girls were well-prepared for the state-tournament rematch.
"The other times we just got really down on ourselves and this time we were really positive. That's basically the biggest difference," Menzel said.
"We just really work together as a team," Norgaard added. (Porter and Avgerinos are) both very good at the net, so when we kept it away from the net person that's when we were playing our best."
York coach Tres Heimann noticed a difference also.
"They were mixing up their game well, Glenbard West was," said Heimann, the Illinois high school tennis coach of the year. "They saw a lot of variation, a lot of different looks, and our girls had to adjust, and thankfully they were able to adjust well and find a way to get the job done."
Porter and Avgerinos resume championship-bracket play Friday morning against Lake Forest's Victoria Falk and Colleen Morris.
Hilltoppers singles players Ali Bush and Caroline Maltby will join Norgaard and Menzel in the fourth round of the consolation bracket Friday.
Naperville Central's Tiffany Chen advanced through her three singles matches, losing only four games. She will start Friday's action against Stevenson's Zoe Manion, who defeated Glenbard East freshman Priscilla Palermo 6-3, 6-2 in their third-round match.
The Redhawks doubles team of Cass Goldner and Cindy Liu advanced through their three matches without too much of a challenge, finishing with a 6-2, 6-1 victory against Alex Wolkoff and Catherine MacKinnon of New Trier. They open Friday's championship-bracket matches against the Edwardsville duo of Mallory Abert and Megan LaRose.
Naperville Central is tied for fifth place with three teams at 16 points.
West Suburban Silver powerhouse Hinsdale Central remains in the hunt for the state team title, ending Thursday tied for second place with New Trier at 22 points, 2 behind Lake Forest.