WATERLOO - Ballard’s Bry Ronca picked up one victory and the Bombers’ Kate Rietz fell short in both of her matches at the Class 1A girls’ state tennis singles tournament last Thursday and Friday at the University of Iowa Tennis Center in Iowa City.
Ronca swept Glenwood’s Ellie Osterloh in the first round, and fell to top seed and eventual runner-up Olivia Fain of Columbus Catholic in the quarterfinals.
Ronca defeated Osterloh by scores of 6-2 and 6-4.
“Bry moved the ball around the court well and did a good job of setting up winners,” Ballard head girls’ tennis coach Jen Dovre said. “Osterloh hit the ball well, but Ronca played with consistency and variety.”
Fain proved too powerful in the quarterfinals. Ronca was dealt 6-0 and 6-1 setbacks.
“Ronca had several solid games with Fain,” Dovre said. “(Ronca) got to deuce four times in the first set and (won) one game in the second set.”
Later on Thursday, Ronca was dealt a three-set loss by Cedar Rapids Xavier’s Sarah Abu-Nameh. Ronca won the first set by a 6-4 score, but loss the second by the same score and dropped the super-tiebreaker by a 10-7 margin.
“Ronca started the first set down 1-4, but got focused and won five games in a row,” Dovre said. “She was able to regroup mid-match and get back to playing her style of tennis. The second set went back and forth and Abu-Nameh took the momentum from winning the final two games of the set into the set tiebreaker. Ronca had a lead in the tiebreaker at 7-6, but Abu-Nameh snagged the next four points to win the match.
“(Bry) had a very special senior season,” Dovre said. “She moved from the six position last year to the one position this year, and competed very well throughout the season. She represented our school at the state tournament with heart and class. We are very proud of her.”
Rietz opened the tournament on Thursday by suffering a pair of 6-0 losses to eventual champion, Anatta Charoenkul of Fairfield.
“Rietz faced a very tough opponent, who didn’t give up a game all day,” Dover said. “But (Kate) competed the entire match and played quality tennis.”
In the consolation first round, Rietz was dealt 7-5 and 6-0 losses by Abu-Nameh.
“Rietz got off to a quick lead, but the set switched leads several times,” Dovre said. “She hit solid shots and moved the ball from side to side well. Rietz led the first set 5-4, but Abu-Nameh rallied to win. Rietz lost steam and played several close games but fell (in the second set). Rietz took a huge leap in the lineup this season, moving from never playing a varsity singles match last year to playing No. 2 (singles) and earning a place at the state tournament. She improved tremendously throughout the season, and we are looking forward to her return next year.”
Charoenkul defeated Fain by 6-1 and 6-4 scores to win the 1A championship match on Friday.