Weber rallies for 6th place at state

 Hillsboro?s Allison Weber returns volley during her opening match at the Class 3-2-1A state tennis tournament Saturday in Pratt. She lost this match to Sterling?s Madison Thrasher in a super tie-breaker, but came back Sunday to beat Thrasher on the way to a sixth-place medal. Hillsboro?s Allison Weber is nothing if not steady and determined.

After a disappointing first-round loss to a familiar opponent, the Trojan junior finished with a 4-2 record and a sixth place finish at the Class 3-2-1A state tennis tournament Saturday and Sunday in Pratt.

After a one-day delay because of cold and snow Friday, Weber opened play Saturday morning against Madison Thrasher of Sterling, a freshman she had defeated a little over a week earlier in the league tournament.

In a marathon match that lasted nearly 21?2 hours, Thrasher prevailed, 6-2, 4-6 (10-7) with a super tie-breaker.

Her second match against Deiah Curtis of Hoisington had Weber on the ropes early, but eventually reverted to Weber?s deep baseline game. Weber rallied for the 9-6 win.

She ended Saturday?s play with a 9-4 win over Bailey Olvera of Meade, the No. 1 player from the southwest regional.

?Allison was absolutely worn out at the end of the day, so I was concerned about how she would respond in her early 9 a.m. match Sunday against (Rachel) Herzog of Ellsworth, a girl she had lost to every time in their previous four meetings,? coach Bob Woelk said.

Weber came out on fire, drawing Herzog into a string of unforced errors and cruised to a 9-1 win.

WeberAs fate would have it, that set up a second meeting with Thrasher, something both players would have rather avoided. But this time Weber prevailed, 9-2.

?Allison continued her stellar play, dictating the pace and taking every punch Thrasher delivered,? Woelk said. ?It was classic Allison at her best, mixing deep shots with just enough short drop shots to keep her opponent off-balance. And, she got to absolutely every ball.

?For the first two matches Sunday, Allison was in one of those rare zones where I really didn?t have to tell her anything,? Woelk added. ?She had a game plan and executed it perfectly. I just sat back and watched it happen.?

Having reached the match for fifth place, Weber faced Besa Bwalya of Hoi?sington, a girl she had lost to twice this year. Weber played her hard-hitting opponent well, running down nearly every shot. She ended up losing 9-6, but the match felt closer, according to Woelk.

?Bwalya was clearly frustrated by Allison?s Energizer Bunny coverage,? he said.

?Overall, it was a great tournament for Allison,? he added. ?We were honestly hoping for any sort of medal in the field of incredible singles players. Even though Allison finished fifth last year and dropped to sixth this year, coaches were talking about how that was actually an improvement, considering the competition with Wichita Collegiate dropping back into 3A.

?Even the event announ?cer made a comment about Allison when she was awarded the medal, calling her a human backboard for her ability to get every shot back. I couldn?t be more proud of Allison?s efforts this year.?

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