Weber places third at state tennis

Allison Weber returns volley Friday against Ashlan Mathes of Anthony/Harper-Chaparral at the Class 3-2-1A state tournament in Dodge City. Weber won the match, 6-1, 6-0, and went on to claim third place at state. Janae Rempel / Free PressAllison Weber capped an outstanding tennis career at Hillsboro High School with her highest finish at the Class 3-2-1A state tournament Friday and Saturday in Dodge City.

The Trojan senior, a four-time state qualifier who has placed among the top six each year, improved upon her previous-best fifth-place finish in 2012 by capturing third place in her final season.

Barely qualifying for state with a sixth-place finish at easily the toughest regional in 3-2-1A, Weber came to Dodge City on fire Friday, sweeping all three matches in impressive style: 6-1, 6-0 over Ashlan Mathes of Anthony/Harper-Chap?arral, 6-0, 6-0 over Oriana Ratzlaff of Phillipsburg, then capping the day with a 6-4, 6-4 win over Central Kansas League rival Madi?son Thrasher of Sterling.

Against Mathes, Weber dropped the first game, then reeled off 12 straight wins.

?She came back at least twice from love-40 scores to win the games,? said coach Bob Woelk. ?She was patient and consistent, two things Allison has banked on all year.?

Woelk said they expected a tougher battler against Ratzlaff, the No. 2 qualifier in her regional.

?She had no answer for Allison?s baselining style,? Woelk said of the shutout win. ?That helped Allison conserve some energy going into the crucial third match with her old nemesis, Mad?die Thrasher from Sterling.?

Weber again used consistent hitting and deep baseline shots to keep Thrasher off balance.

?Maddie is one of the best players I?ve seen in getting Allison?s high baseline shots back with spin and power,? Woelk said. ?Whenever Thrasher tried to gain a foothold, Allison adjusted.?

Weber?s 3-0 start put her into the semifinals on Saturday, where she dropped a 6-0, 6-0 decision to eventual state champion Anna Reid?miller of Wichita Indepen?dent. Reidmiller finished her season with a 32-2 record.

?Though I know Allison played hard, she spent the minimum amount of time on the court, allowing her to save energy for the third-place match,? Woelk said.

The loss left Weber facing Emily Ramsey of perennial tennis power Wichita Collegiate in the battle for third place.

But the patient and determined Weber dominated her Spartan opponent, 6-2, 6-1, to finish her senior season with a 27-9 record.

She jumped out to a 4-2 lead by breaking Ramsey?s serve twice, then coasted to the 6-2 first set. Weber led 4-1 in the second set before finishing with two more games to secure the third-place medal.

Weber?s solo performance qualified Hillsboro for a seventh-place team finish with 14 points. Four other CKL teams finished among the top 11 in a field of 24 schools: Hess?ton fifth, Haven sixth, Hoi?sington 10th and Sterling 11th.

Collegiate dominated the team competition with 44 points. The top five state finishers in singles came out of the regional hosted by Wichita Collegiate.

For her Trojan career, Weber compiled a 96-38 record in all matches, both doubles and singles. Her singles record is 69-27.

?I can?t say enough about how hard Allison has worked for her four straight state medals,? Woelk said. ?She has been a model of consistency and gets inside her opponent?s head by simply returning every ball, whether a drop shot or a lob.

?She has been a pleasure to coach as my job has mostly been to just stay out of her way, and once in a while remind her to stick with the game plan that has worked well for four years.?

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