Just like they did last season, the Port Clinton doubles team of Chelsea Beck and Aubrey Gillman and Oak Harbor's Ashley LaFountain advanced to the Division II State Tennis Tournament next week in Columbus.
Joining them is Port Clinton's other doubles team, Samantha Griffin and Rachael Szabo, who finished in second place. It is the third time in four years that Griffin has advanced to the state meet, each time with a different doubles partner.
In Division II, the top three district finishers qualify for the state meet.
Beck and Gillman defeated Norwalk's Jaclynn Hipp and Olivia Kasten 4-6, 7-6 (6), 6-4 in the third-place match. LaFountain finished second in the singles tournament, losing to Lexington's Courtney Earnest, the 2009 state runner-up, in the finals 6-1, 6-2 and Griffin and Szabo lost in the finals to Lexington's Alisha Angle and Elise Betscher 6-1, 6-3.
In the consolation match, Beck and Gillman rallied in the second set, fending off double-match point and coming back from a 6-3 deficit in the tiebreaker to win 8-6 to take the set. After falling behind 2-0 in the third set, Port Clinton's tandem rallied again, winning 6-4 to close out the match.
"They were down 2-0 in the tiebreaker (in the second set) and then 6-3; that shows the kind of ability they have (in coming back)," said Port Clinton head coach Jim Greer. "Then they fell behind again (in the third set) and came back and pulled it out. When they're on, they can seriously compete with anybody. Hats off to them for digging such a big hole and getting out of it."
Gillman was certainly pleased with what she and Beck have accomplished.
"I'm really excited; it's a big accomplishment," said Gillman. "Nobody in our school has made it to state for four years, not in a girls' sport. You'd think senior year, there'd be a lot of nerves and a lot of pressure but I just feel really relaxed and it's a great ending to our season."
LaFountain, who lost for only the second time this season, advanced to the finals with victories over Mansfield St. Peter's Toral Vaidya 6-0, 6-0 in the quarterfinals and Shelby's Nikki Harmon 6-1, 6-3 in the semifinals.
The other singles player to qualify for state was Ottawa Hills' Drew Fillis, who defeated Harmon 6-2, 6-1 in the consolation match.
LaFountain, Earnest and Fillis also represented the northwest district at the state tournament in 2009.
Griffin and Szabo qualified for the state meet when they defeated Hipp and Kasten 6-1, 7-6 (6) in the semifinals.
"This is my first year going to state, so it's something completely new for me after four years of hard work," said Szabo. "It feels amazing. This is the first time I've made it in doubles."
Szabo also talked about the great chemistry she has with Griffin.
"We're really close on and off the court," she said. "We have the same focus, the same drive. We stayed focused, we stayed up and were positive."
Singles -- Courtney Earnest (LEX) def Ashley LaFountain (OH) 6-1, 6-2
Doubles -- Alisha Angle-Elise Betscher (LEX) def Samantha Griffin-Racheal Szabo (PC) 6-1, 6-3
Singles -- Earnest (LEX) def Drew Fillis (Ott. Hills); LaFountain (OH) defeated Nikki Harmon (SHL) 6-1, 6-3;
Doubles -- Angle-Betscher (LEX) def Aubrey Gillman-Chelsea Beck (OH) 7-5, 6-3; Griffin-Szabo (PC) def Olivia Hipp-Jaclynn Kasten (N) 6-1, 7-6 (6)
Singles -- Fillis (Ott. Hills) def Harmon (SHL) 6-2, 6-1
Doubles -- Gillman-Beck (PC) def Hipp-Kasten (N) 6-1, 7-6 (6)
Toledo Central Catholic doubles team, Perrysburg's Weaver win at districts
At the Division I District Meet in Sandusky, Perrysburg's April Weaver defeated Sylvania Northview's Megan Miller 6-3, 6-3 to advance to the state meet next week.
In Division I, the top-two district finishers qualify for the state meet.
At doubles, Morgan and Sydney Delp of Toledo Central Catholic beat Sylvania Southview's Genna Haider and Neha Vyas in the finals 6-1, 6-1.