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PREP TENNIS: Ashland's Retiz advances to state semis

PORTLAND — Ashland sophomore Alyssa Retiz used a little “controlled aggression” to reach the semifinal round in girls tennis singles at the Class 5A tournament to pave the way for a solid day overall Friday at the Portland Tennis Center.

Coming off a Midwestern League title earned last week in dominant fashion, Retiz shook off some early pressure as the No. 4 seed to win both her opening matches Friday and become the only local player to advance in the championship bracket.

Freshman teammate Sascha Wells nearly was able to join Retiz but a quarterfinal setback to No. 2 seed Journey Lipscomb of Cascade, 6-3, 6-1, put an end to her state debut.

Ashland’s doubles team of sophomores Zoe Zapf and Jessica Hitchcock remain in contention in the consolation bracket.

In 5A boys action, freshman Josh Datz lost his first match 6-1, 6-2 to No. 4 seed Breaden Brooks of Redmond but rebounded with an 8-5 win over Thurston junior Dalton Martin to move into Saturday’s consolation semifinals.

At the 6A girls tournament, Grants Pass senior Elizabeth Williams was eliminated in the consolation round with an 8-3 loss to freshman Eve Laurent of Grant.

In 6A boys, Grants Pass tandem Nicholas Rist and Jaxon Schatza lost 8-4 to Nalen Stephens and Will Gardner of McMinnville in consolation play.

After advancing to the consolation finals one year ago, Retiz opened her tournament with a 6-3, 6-3 win over Hood River Valley senior Montserrat Garrido. After winning the first set, Retiz found herself down 1-3 before regaining her edge and winning the next five games.

In the championship quarterfinals, Retiz was impressive in scoring a 6-0, 6-1 win over La Salle Prep junior Ashley Smith.

Key to the Day 1 victories was Retiz’s ability to attack return shots that didn’t have a lot of pace and generate a lot of pace herself to put her opponent’s on their heels and impose her will.

“Once she did that she was putting her opponents in trouble,” said Ashland girls coach Gail Patton. “I like to call it controlled aggression, and she did a great job of that today.”

Wells opened with a 6-2, 6-0 win over Wilsonville senior Isabella Gonzalez. She went up 3-0 on Lipscomb in the quarterfinals before the impact of the moment caught up to her, according to Patton.

“Poor Sascha did not play her best tennis,” said the coach. “She was up 3-love and I think what happened was she all of a sudden went, ‘Oh my gosh, I can win this match,’ played cautious and lost six games in a row and the set and then lost her confidence.”

“But being a freshman and getting to the finals at district and winning in the first round at state, she’s had a really good season.”

Zapf and Hitchcock, who first paired up only a few weeks ago, lost 6-3, 6-1 to No. 2 seeds Alyssa Khiew and Aneisa Fink of Silverton in their opening match. In the consolation quarterfinals, the Ashland duo rebounded to score an 8-1 win over Grace Moyer and Kazuki Tanaka of Churchill to advance into second-day action.

tennis ball on a tennis court