Hillsboro High School junior Allison Weber placed sixth in the state 3-2-1A tennis tournament over the weekend in Pratt.
The tournament was scheduled to begin Friday, but it was postponed until Saturday because of rain, sleet, and eventually snow.
In her opening match, Weber lost to Madison Thrasher of Sterling, 6-2 and 4-6 (10-7). Weber had defeated Thrasher earlier at the Central Kansas League meet.
Falling into the consolation bracket, Weber faced Deiah Curtis of Hoisington. Coach Bob Woelk said Weber had Curtis on the ropes early and went on to win, 9-6.
Then she faced Bailey Olvera of Meade. Olvera was the No. 1 qualifier in the southwest regional. Weber won the match, 9-4, to finish Saturday.
“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,” Woelk said.
Herzog had defeated Weber in all four of their regular season meetings. Sunday was a very different story, though. Weber started the match on fire and forced Herzog into a string of errors. Weber cruised to a 9-1 victory.
That put Weber into a rematch with Thrasher. Woelk said Weber did a stellar job of dictating the pace and frustrating Thrasher by returning all of her best shots.
“It was classic Allison at her best, mixing deep shots with just enough short drop shots to keep her opponent off balance,” Woelk said. “And she got to absolutely every ball. It was a complete reversal of Saturday’s match.”
Woelk said he didn’t have to do any coaching in the matches against Herzog and Thrasher. Weber had a game plan that she executed perfectly.
In the fifth-place match, Weber faced Besa Bwalya of Hoisington. Weber chased down nearly every shot but couldn’t keep up with the hard-hitting Bwalya. Weber lost the match, 9-6, to finish sixth in the state.
Woelk said that despite losing a spot from placing fifth last year, 2013 was Weber’s better tournament.
“Even the event announcer made a comment about Allison when she was awarded the medal, calling her a human backboard for her ability to get every shot back,” he said.