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PREP TENNIS: Ashland girls 2nd at state tourney

PORTLAND — Ashland’s girls tennis team made the most of its trip up north to the Class 5A state tournament, earning a second-place state trophy Saturday and gaining valuable experience that should pay dividends as the program moves forward.

Ashland sophomore Alyssa Retiz placed fourth in 5A singles and the sophomore doubles team of Zoe Zapf and Jessica Hitchcock won both their matches Saturday to claim the consolation championship.

In 5A boys action, Ashland freshman Josh Datz lost 8-5 to West Albany junior Bjorn Carlson in the consolation semifinals and was eliminated.

For Retiz, who lost in the consolation finals last year, the matchups were tough to overcome on Day 2 of the championship bracket.

Facing top-seeded senior Anna Kern of Corvallis, who had not lost a single game at state, Retiz put up a fight before falling 6-2, 6-2 in the semifinals. In the third-place final, Retiz lost 6-3, 6-1 to second-seeded junior Journey Lipsomb of Corvallis to place fourth.

“Alyssa had two hard-fought matches,” said Ashland girls coach Gail Patton. “In the semis she played someone she’d never beaten but got more games out of her than anbyody else had this tournament. In the third-fourth match, that score wasn’t really indicative of really how close it was, they had so many mutliple deuce games. I’m really proud of her.”

Zapf and Hitchcock were teamed up only a few weeks ago and, after falling to the No. 2 seeds in their opening match, the Grizzlies gradually built steam to win their remaining matches.

They won 8-4 over Redmond’s Dagne Harris and Maria Gradilla in the consolation semifinals, then rallied in the consolation finals to beat fourth-seeded seniors Felicity Kohler and Megan Alldredge of Ridgeview, 6-7 (4), 6-4, 6-3.

“I’m really, really proud of them,” said Patton. “They became a stronger team with every match that they played, so that was really nice.”

Ashland scored eight points to finish runner-up behind state champion Corvallis (21).

“Everybody that we took to state were freshmen or sophomores so looking towards the future I’m pleased about that,” said Patton. “We have some kids who didn’t get there this year that I think will get out of district to the state tourney next year. I think the girls will be building from this for the next several years, which will be nice.”

From left, Ashland coach Gail Patton, Zoe Zapf, Alyssa Retiz and Jessica Hitchcock.