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updated: 5/29/2014 9:09 PM

Norasith, Hougland surviving in the backdraw

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  • Elisha Hougland of Hampshire returns the ball during Day 1 of the boys tennis state tournament at Hoffman Estates High School on Thursday.

      Elisha Hougland of Hampshire returns the ball during Day 1 of the boys tennis state tournament at Hoffman Estates High School on Thursday.
    Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

Daily Herald report

South Elgin's Andre Norasith and Hampshire's Elisha Hougland provided a lession in resiliency on Thursday.

Both fired back with three consecutive victories after opening-round losses on the first day of the boys tennis state tournament to earn a second day of competition.

Norasith, after capturing the sectional crown last weekend at Jacobs, fell in his opener with Steve Hill of DeLaSalle 7-6 (2), 7-6 (6). But the senior, who came into this season with 94 career victories, strung together three in a row, including a long three-setter with Miguel Rayos del Sol of Romeoville, to book a spot in Friday's 8 a.m. fourth-rounder at Wheeling against Bill Zhang of Naperville Central.

Hougland, a Hampshire senior, was runner-up to Norasith one week ago in sectional play. In Thursday's first-round matchup, Hougland faced Libertyville standout freshman Stefano Tsorotiotis (27-3). The 5-8 seed dispatched Hougland 6-1, 6-1.

"It wasn't the most ideal draw Elisha could have gotten," said Hampshire coach William Jepsen. "Stefano is an amazing talent. But Elisha hung in there and gave a good effort and got himself back into it with his second match, and is anxious to play as deep as he can in the tournament."

Hougland's subsequent victories set him up for an 8 a.m. Friday match against Nick Urban of Lemont at Rolling Meadows.

The backdraw will continue through Friday at various sites near tournament host Hersey High School in Arlington Heights, which welcomes the round of 16 at singles at 9 a.m., and then the rest of the championship bracket at doubles following round of 16 action at Buffalo Grove.

Reigning state champ Hinsdale Central is in a tie for first with Lake Forest in the team race, each with 24 points. New Trier (22), followed by Highland Park and Glenbrook North (18 apiece) round out the top five.

Kailash Panchapakesa (31-8) came closest to joining his FVC rivals, but Jacobs' top player fell short in his bid to do so as he fell 6-2, 6-0 to freshman Jacob Edelchik of Highland Park on Thursday afternoon.

The sophomore began his day on a bright note with an straight-sets win over Luke Winchester (Ottawa) but was sent into the backdraw when he lost to French exchange student Sebastien Lescoulie of Carbondale.

"Sebastien was a very good, and deceptive player who later went on to join the round of 16, but Kailash gave him a great fight, then came back to win his next match before dealing with some leg cramps during his loss to Edelchik, another fine player," said Jacobs coach Jon Betts.

Betts had plenty of praise for the rest of his club, including Kendrick Chong, who went 1-2, as did Riley Rowan-Matt Toomire, who sparkled in their first state match ever.

Kyle Powell and Will Liby went two and out after capturing the doubles title last weekend to help fuel the Golden Eagles' team championship.

Sectional runners-up Matt Frederick-Jake Grabner (Huntley, 21-8) were eliminated at Palatine High School after suffering a second loss, to Springfield.

"I thought the guys were a little tight in their opener, but that will happen in your first-ever state appearance," said Red Raiders coach Barry Wells. "But they came back much stronger in the next match to get a nice 6-1, 6-4 win and played better tennis with each set after that opening round loss."

Joe Baietto/Kyle Devlin (Crystal Lake South) saw their season end in Palatine as well following a 6-4, 6-2 defeat at the hands of Effingham to go 1-2 in their first tournament appearance, while Dundee-Crown senior Brad Spangenberg saw his career end after he and Chad Wagner lost in three sets to Rockford Auburn in Buffalo Grove. They finished the season 25-12.

"Losing to a team like New Trier which has so much tradition and talent each and every year after our win in the first round is nothing to be ashamed of, but I felt we kind of let that third match go, especially in the third set," said Spangenberg, who also layed in the state tourney two years ago and will attend Loyola next fall.

"The guys had a great year, winning the title at the Schaumburg Invite and defeating the top seed (there) -- McHenry, which is also here this weekend," said long-time Chargers coach Harlan Miller.

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