The Hillsboro doubles team of Amanda Faber and Greta Wiebe fell just short of qualifying for the state tennis tournament Saturday, losing in the first round of a tough sub-state tournament at Sterling.
To qualify for state under the playoff model implemented this year, athletes had to place among the top four finishers at their regional tournament on Thursday, then finish among the top four at Saturday’s sub-state.
Faber and Wiebe found themselve paired in the first round against Katelin Clawson and Sarah Plowman of Ellinwood, a team they had defeated 9-2 the previous week at the Mid-Central Activities Association league tournament.
On this day, however, the Ellinwood duo escaped by the closest of margins, 4-6, 6-2, 7-6 (6).
“We started out the first set great,” coach Lynn Wiebe said. “Both girls were serving well and Amanda’s backhand was dead on.
“Then in the second set we seemed to just just kind of lose everything. We weren’t able to hold serve and just seemed to tighten up.”
The Trojan duo found itself in a 0-3 hole in Game 3, but battled back to take a 6-5 lead and were on the verge of victory at match point. Ellinwood came back to tie the match at 6-6, sending it into a tie breaker.
Hillsboro made it to match point there, too, but one last Ellinwood rally carried Clawson and Plowman to the victory and state berth.
“It was a real heartbreaker,” Coach Wiebe said.
“This was just a loaded sub-state,” she added. “All eight doubles teams are state quality.”
Faber and Wiebe made it to sub-state by finishing among the top four in doubles at the regional tournament in Hillsboro on Thursday.
The Trojan duo placed second with wins over McCullers and Britton of Sterling (6-2, 6-2) in the first round and Kim Alexander and Rachel Wilson of Wichita Collegiate in the semifinals (6-2, 3-6, 7-5).
In the title match, Faber and Wiebe lost to Kendall Lovett and and Jaron Glaser of Collegiate (2-6, 5-7).
“I was very pleased with the success that Amanda and Greta had,” Wiebe said. “They are playing some great tennis. Both of them have great serves, and it’s when they are serving well they seem to be in control of the match.”
Each of the other Trojan entries ended their season with losses in the first round.
In doubles, Anna Woelk and Maria Loewen lost to Elyse Schrader and Cheyenne Thompson of Alma-Wabaunsee (1-6, 1-6). In singles, Lauren Just lost to Keri Kenning of Hutchinson Trinity (1-6, 7-6 [7-5]) and Amber Loewen lost to Janel Prather of Sterling (0-6, 0-6).
“We got fairly decent seeds for both our singles and both our doubles teams, we just had a loaded regional,” Wiebe said. “I think everyone played well enough that, had we been in a different regional, they would have quaified.”
In team points, Collegiate prevailed with 16, Hillsboro and Sterling followed with 7, Trinity 5 and Alma-Wabaunsee 2.