The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

June 6, 2014

Clinton pair to medal at state tennis

Herald Staff Report

AMES — Clinton seniors Jordan Nelson and Gabby Haan advanced to the final eight Thursday, guaranteeing themselves a medal in doubles competition at the Iowa Class 2A girls tennis state tournament.

Clinton's entry in singles, senior Griffin Rasche, went 1-2 on Thursday and was eliminated. Both of her losses were to returning state placewinners.

Nelson and Haan opened with a 6-3, 4-6, 7-3 (3) win against Urbandale's Abby Hart and Celie Kohls in a 2 1/2-hour match.

"That was good because we play Urbandale on Saturday," Clinton coach Cindy Rasche said, referring to the team competition.

"Consistency" was the key, coach Barb Brondyke said. "They had good groundstrokes and kept their feet moving. We got some good net play. They did that and then were able to get some good angle shots."

They were knocked into the consolations, though, when they lost in straight sets (6-0, 6-2) to their Mississippi Athletic Conference nemeses, Dana Waterman and Emilia Porubcin of Bettendorf.

The Clinton duo bounced back in the consolation quarterfinals with another marathon win. They beat Sam and Sarah Roemer of Norwalk 7-6 (5), 6-7 (6), (11-9).

"Norwalk had scrappy kids," Cindy Rasche said. "They lived in the moment."

Despite getting a tough draw, Griffin Rasche played two matches that went to the super tiebreaker and another in which one set went to a tiebreaker.

Abby Bergsten of Council Bluffs Lewis Central defeated Rasche 3-6, 7-5, 6-2 in Thursday's first round. Bergsten beat Rasche in straight sets a year ago when she placed fifth in the state and Rasche took eighth.

"I was pleased to see a three-and-a-half-hour match with that girl," said coach Rasche, Griffin's aunt. "She kind of redeemed herself from the year before. It's not all about winning; it's about improving and the journey."

Griffin Rasche came back with a 2-6, 6-4, (10-5) win against Bettendorf's Haley Bankson before playing a regional title rematch against Pleasant Valley's Katie Melbourne, who placed sixth in the state last year. Melbourne, the MAC runner-up in singles, avenged the loss to Rasche there with a 7-6 (2), 6-0 victory.

"She had a good set with Melbourne, but I think the three-and-a-half-hour match and the match against one of the best retrievers in the MAC (Bankson) took a toll on her," Cindy Rasche said.

Singles and doubles play was scheduled to conclude today, with the team final four set for Saturday.