Senior Maggie Hines and junior Lizzie Witkowski both are back at the Class AA state meet, but this will be the first time they will compete as a doubles team.

This is Hines’ third appearance, while Witkowski is making her second trip. The team earned a 9-16 seed and play a Belleville East team in the first round Thursday at Conant.

Loyola head coach Tom Gordon said he will do his best to keep practice light in the days leading up to the state tournament. The top six players will participate, according to Gordon.

“We will hit as many balls as we can and work on some situational drills,” he said. “The atmosphere at the state tournament is so intense that we want to make sure we have fun.”

Hines/Witkowski, which took third at Niles West’s sectional, enter the state tournament with only four losses.

Although they didn’t qualify as a doubles team, Gordon remarked about how well juniors Catherine Power and Maeve Silk played at their first sectional. The unseeded duo came within one win of advancing to the state tournament.

“They had a tough draw, but they fought really hard,” Gordon said. “They played up to their competition, which was cool to see.”