Weber opens strong for Hillsboro in first two tourneys

Hillsboro?s Allison Weber returns a volley during her opening match against Malenzie Nisley of Nickerson during the Hillsboro Invitational Sept. 2. Weber took first in No. 1 singles at the season-opening tournament, then was the runner-up two days later at Sterling.The Hillsboro tennis team placed third out of four teams Thursday at the Ster?ling Invitational.
The Black Bears won their home tournament with 27 points, followed by Hutch?inson Trinity (20), Hillsboro (13) and St. John (0).
Allison Weber led the Trojans with a second-place finish in No. 1 singles, losing 8-5 to a familiar rival, Madi?son Thrasher of Sterling. The pair split four head-to-head matches last season, including two matches at state.
Weber trailed Thrasher 4-1 before rallying to tie the match with three straight game wins.
?There were two games late that went to deuce, but Allison missed a few key shots down the stretch,? coach Bob Woelk said. ?I was pleased that she didn?t give up when she was down early.?
Later, Weber defeated Tyler Dove of St. John 8-0 and Baylee Reade of Hutch?inson Trinity 8-0.
In No. 2 singles, Claire Heyen lost to McKenzie Thrasher of Sterling 8-0, defeated Brooke Shultz of St. John 8-2, then lost to Esmer?alda Tovar of Trinity 8-2.
?Claire is still learning how to be an effective singles player,? Woelk said. ?She is physically stronger and quicker than last year. She just needs a more consistent game. It will come with more experience.?
In No. 1 doubles, Allison Gray and Madison Klein lost to Sterling?s Lindsay Gil?more and Kaci Wilson 8-0, defeated Audrey Mercer and Christy Garcia of St. John 8-2, then lost to Trinity?s Sofia Garcia and Emma Lanham 8-1.
?(They) started slowly and seemed to be affected by the heat early,? Woelk said. ?Sterling has a seasoned doubles team. Hillsboro played better against St. John, but I was a bit disappointed the girls did not stay with Trinity. Again, experience is a factor as Madison Klein is a first-year player, even though she is a senior.?
In No. 2 doubles, Hannah Funk and Anna Glanzer lost to Shelbi Fenwick and Jessica Thorpe of Sterling 8-0, defeated Kristy Garcia and Diana Long of St. John 8-2, then lost to Morgan Cowles and Catherine LeClaire of Trinity 8-2.
?We seemed a bit tentative in the first match against Sterling,? Woelk said. ?We gained some confidence against St. John and, again, I felt like we could have done more damage against Trinity. This team is made up of a junior and a sophomore, so there is still plenty of room to grow.?
Hillsboro Invitational?Led by Allison Weber?s No. 1 singles title, the Trojans started the season with a strong performance on their home court, falling one point short of a team title as well.
?That shows that our lineup should be more of a threat this year, and it was certainly fun to be in contention for a team title,? coach Bob Woelk said.
Hesston won with 36 points, followed by Hillsboro (35), Pratt (28), Haven (27), Wichita Colle?giate (16) and Nickerson (6).
Competition began with two pools of three teams each. For the medal round, players were matched, according to finish, with their counterpart in the other pool.
In pool play, Weber defeated Makenzie Nisley of Nickerson 8-0 and Emmily Hendrixson of Haven 8-0 to advance to the first-place match against Hesston?s Olivia Brubacher, winner of the other pool. Weber prevailed 8-1.
?She served well and mixed her shots,? Woelk said. ?I thought she was aggressive and worked to shorten points with winners.?
In No. 2 singles, Claire Heyen won her pool by defeating Shelby Davis of Haven 8-4 and Katricia Hirsch of Nickerson 8-1. In the title match, Heyen dropped an 8-3 decision to Tessa Sutherland of Colle?giate.
?She seemed to run out of gas in the final,? Woelk said.
In doubles, Hillsboro?s No. 1 team of Allison Gray and Madison Klein defeated Alexandria Christian and Alyssa Weve of Nickerson 8-2, then lost 8-0 to Sam Stall?baumer and Mary Wagler of Haven in pool play. In the battle for third, Pratt?s Allicia Hall and Elee Hamp?ton prevailed 8-2.
?It was the first time ever playing together for Gray and Klein,? Woelk said. ?They will get better as each learns the other?s strengths and weaknesses.?
In No. 2 doubles, Hannah Funk and Anna Glanzer lost to Sabrina Nisly and Annika Miller of Haven 8-1, then defeated Dakota Lowrey and Raven Hammond of Nicker?son 8-1. The Trojan duo took third by beating Lizzie Amaro and Ciara Hodgkin?son of Pratt 8-6.
?Again, Hannah Funk, a junior, and sophomore Anna Glanzer have had very limited playing time together,? Woelk said.
Darcy Heinrichs and Mary Leihy filled a vacancy in the No. 2 bracket with the absence of a Collegiate team. Playing unaffiliated, the Hillsboro duo defeated Lowery and Hammond of Nickerson 8-0 in the fifth-place match.
?It was good to have a chance to play Darcy Hein?richs and Mary Leihy as an unattached doubles team.,? Woelk said. ?They picked up a win as first-time players, though the points did not count for Hillsboro.?
Coming?The Trojans will travel to Lindsborg Thursday for the Smoky Valley Invitational starting at 10 a.m., then will compete Saturday at Hesston starting at 9 a.m.

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