CEDAR RAPIDS — Griffin Rasche earned a spot in the top eight at the Iowa Class 2A girls tennis state tournament Thursday, but the rest of her teammates will have a day off today before facing Ames on Saturday in the semifinals of state team competition.
Rasche, who placed seventh in doubles last year, went 2-1 on Thursday, beating Megan Jans of Iowa City West 6-3, 6-1 in the consolation quarterfinals to guarantee a top-eight finish. That makes her the first Clinton High player to place in singles since Ellen Russell took fifth in 2008.
"Griffin probably played some of her best tennis to date," said Cindy Rasche, Clinton's head coach and Griffin's aunt.
Griffin Rasche started her day by beating Ellena Wolff of Dubuque Senior 6-1, 6-4. In the quarterfinals, she dropped a 6-2, 6-3 match to second-seeded Eve Small of Iowa City High.
"She had lost to Small earlier this season," Cindy Rasche said. "She had a number of deuce points, so she's right there."
Griffin Rasche was scheduled to play Abby Bergsten of Council Bluffs Lewis Central in today's semifinals. Bergsten placed eighth in the state last year.
Clinton's other singles qualifier, Rubina Vidal, dropped a pair of 6-2, 6-0 matches, first to Waukee's Kayla Kuethe, then to Jans in the consolation first round. Kuethe went on to knock off fourth-seeded Katie Melbourne of Pleasant Valley in the quarterfinals.
"Rubina got beat by a girl who took out the four seed," coach Rasche said. "I'm glad to see the girl who beat her get to the top four."
In doubles, Clinton juniors Jordan Nelson and Gabby Haan finished 1-2. They were eliminated by the No. 3 seeds, Jenni Aldrich and Lucy Korsakov of West Des Moines Valley, who combined to finish fourth in doubles last year. The score of that match was 6-2, 6-4.
The River Queens duo opened the day with a hard-fought, three-set loss to Olivia and Emily Coe of Ankeny, falling 6-2, 4-6, 6-3. Haan and Nelson bounced back to beat Marion Linn-Mar's Mackenzie Luehring and Anna Schlueter 6-1, 6-2 in the consolation first round.
"Gabby and Jordan both played really well in the second match they played," Rasche said. "They don't have to feel sad about the way they played. As a number two doubles team, for them to do that well is great."
Most of the matches were played outside at the Veterans Memorial Tennis Center, Rasche said, but she said it started raining at about 3:15 p.m., forcing Griffin Rasche and Haan and Nelson to move indoors to finish their matches.