IOWA CITY – During the finals a tennis fan hollered, “Go West.” It was hard to tell exactly who the fan was cheering for considering almost the entire championship field were Iowa City West players.
The Women of Troy swept the singles and doubles titles, capturing three of four state berths at the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union Class 2A regional meet Thursday at the University of Iowa Tennis Center. Defending state champions Lilli Oetting and Lola White-Baer won the doubles event, while sophomore Addy Riley won an all-West singles final over Olivia Lofgren.
West’s three state qualifiers didn’t lose to a set to a foe from another team.
“It speaks a lot for our depth,” West Coach Kay DiLeo said. “That’s been a strength. To have a player like Addy Riley play No. 4 for our team, I think that tells you how strong our team is.”
Riley’s performance was indicative of the West performance. She entered the competition unseeded, which DiLeo guessed was based on her playing the fourth spot for West behind the other three state qualifiers. She won four matches, knocking off the No. 3 and No. 2 seeds in straight sets before beating her top-seeded teammate, 6-2, 6-2.
“I was kind of the underdog at first,” Riley said. “It was kind of nice to come out on top.”
DiLeo said she was confident in Riley’s potential to advance through the bracket. She was proud of how well she played to reach the finals, including a 6-2, 6-3 quarterfinal win over second-seeded Anna Striegel of Cedar Rapids Jefferson and a 6-1, 6-1 semifinal victory against Iowa City High’s Lindsay Hall.
“It wasn’t surprising at all,” DiLeo said of Riley. “I knew what Addy was capable of doing.”
Riley said her teammates provided some advice and that helped. She kept getting stronger and more comfortable as the day progressed.
“My last match I was a little more relaxed,” Riley said. “For myself, I was really relaxed and ready to go.”
With state berth in hand, she was extremely relaxed for the finals, playing against a very familiar opponent. Lofgren held her seed until the finals, defeating Cedar Rapids Jefferson’s Megan Smothers, 6-3, 6-2, and advancing to the championship after a 6-1, 6-4 win over Muscatine’s Cynthia Machael.
The two anticipated meeting in the finals. Although both said it was a fun match to play and stress wasn’t a factor, the matchup was tough.
“It’s harder than playing anyone else,” Lofgren said. “We’ve always been competing with each other, especially this season. We each others weaknesses and strengths. It’s easy to target those.”
The two exchanged some long, well-played points. Afterward, the two met at the net and exchanged smiles and a hug. They both were moving on to state.
“All of us worked hard,” said Lofgren, a junior. “It’s super exciting to know four of our team made it. It’s huge.”
Oetting and White-Baer marched back to state with a 6-4, 6-1 victory over Muscatine’s Angie Allgood and Hannah Eichelberger, who placed fourth at last year’s state doubles meet. The duo only gave up two game points in the first two rounds, blanking Burlington’s Hannah Smith and Elli Eibes in the semifinals.
“We had a little blip in the third match, in the final, toward the end of the second set, but we really pulled it together,” White-Baer said. “Overall, I think we played really well.”
The quality win propels Oetting and White-BAer into the state meet. The 2010 2A Doubles champions have a chance to back-to-back titles. Momentum is in their favor.
“It’s always good to come off as regional champions, because you do geat a seed and it really just gives you a boost of confidence because you just won a match to go into state,” White-Baer said. “You’re kind of on a winning streak. That’s always exciting.”
In other regional action, Cedar Rapids Kennedy and Cedar Rapids Washington matched West’s feat.
Kennedy’s Sarah Lasecki, who was half of last year’s third-plaxce state doubles team, and Kali Hildebrand defeated Katie Rakers and Jenna Myers for the doubles championship at Eldridge. Kennedy’s Jackie Pedersen, who placed fifth at state in doubles a year ago, won the singles title over teammate Ashley Schlueter.
At Waterloo, the Warriors advanced Katie Hammond, who placed seventh at state last year, and Rina Moore to state singfles while Kristin King and Olivia Brooks beat Cedar Rapids Xavier’s Lisa Cowden and Laura Birky for the regional doubles crown.