ORIGINALLY WRITTEN DON RATZLAFF
After a disappointing start on Friday, Hillsboro High School’s two doubles team played well on Saturday and finished seventh and ninth at the Class 3-2-1A state tournament in Hesston this weekend.
Playing on the Hesston College courts on Friday, inconsistent play interrupted by light showers frustrated both Trojan teams in their opening matches.
Senior Erin Wiebe and sophomore Lora Andrews lost to Becky Fryberger and Danielle Elliott of Ellinwood, 4-6, 2-6.
“Lora and Erin got off to a slow start and then struggled with their emotions throughout the match,” coach Lynn Wiebe said. “At times we played OK, but the other team would hit a winner on us, or we would make our own error, and we just couldn’t seem to get our emotions and intensity all in check at the same time.”
Senior Kelsey Kaufman and freshman Amanda Faber were tied with Ellinwood’s Ashley Kirkpatrick and Kimy Morgan, 1-1, when a light rain halted play in their third game.
When play resumed, the Ellinwood pair went on to a 1-6, 1-6 victory.
“Kelsey and Amanda played a tough Ellinwood team in their first round, and once again they struggled to close off the net and finish the point,” Wiebe said.
Play was later suspended for the rest of the day during Andrew and Wiebe’s match against Jill Dusin and Allison Dusin of Phillipsburg. The HHS duo was up 3-0 at the time, but down 30-40 in the fourth game.
The Trojan pair came back on Saturday to win the match, 9-4. They then defeated Maddie Allen and Shawna Rokey of Sabetha, the team they defeated in the regional finals, by an identical score in the next round.
In the consolation semifinals, Wiebe and Andrews lost to Meesha Patel and Amanda Roark of Wichita Independent, 7-9, before coming back to take revenge on Fryberger and Elliott of Ellinwood, 9-3, to take seventh.
“Erin and Lora played a great tournament on Saturday,” Lynn Wiebe said. “They were able to make the big shots, get in position to set up a winning point, and used the lob very effectively.
Meanwhile, Kaufman and Faber rebounded from their opening-round lost to defeat Jackie Koster and Rebecca Crotinger of Hoisington, 9-6, in their first consolation match.
In the next round, the Hillsboro pair lost to Rausch and Robinson of Conway Springs, 6-9, but came back to beat Alyssa Kirchoff and Kayla Jarvis of Phillipsburg, 9-3, and Melia Mattke and Emily Deines of Wabaunsee, 9-3, to take seventh.
“On Saturday, they surprised me,” Wiebe said of the pair. “They came out and made some major improvements on their game that I had been preaching to them about the last couple of weeks. They closed the net and put much better angles on their volleys. They also used the lob effectively to get the other team off of the net.”
Wiebe and Andrews finished their season with an 18-6 record while Kaufman and Faber finished 14-7.
“Both teams should feel very good about their accomplishments at both regionals and state,” Wiebe said. “They truly stepped up to the level of competition and, for the first year since I have been coaching high school girls’ tennis, I feel we truly improved up to the final point of the season.
“I was a bit concerned for a time on Friday that regionals had been our high and that we were content to just have gotten to the state meet,” she added. “However, on Saturday both doubles teams stepped up and played up to the level of the occasion.”