ROCKY RIVER — There were a few bumps in the road, but Magnificat senior Anna Roggenburk remains on track to claim her third consecutive Division I sectional tennis title.
Roggenburk, an Avon Lake resident, breezed to a 6-1 win over Blue Streaks teammate Olivia Rondini, but dropped the first two games of the second set before rallying for a 6-3 win. Although she struggled with her first serve all match, Roggenburk was able to come through at the service line when it counted.
Her first-serve percentage was just 41.5 and she double-faulted three times, but when serving for the match up 6-5 in the second set, she converted five of six first serves to advance to the final Saturday at Magnificat.
“I don’t really know what it was. I just think I was off today,” Roggenburk, the defending Division I state champion, said of her serve. “I hit a lot into the net so I don’t think I was keeping my left arm up long enough. I guess that’s something to work on.”
Roggenburk and Rondini said it was difficult playing against one another with a trip to the sectional final on the line.
“At first I was a little nervous,” Rondini said. “She’s my friend, she’s my teammate and it wasn’t the ideal situation. The second set I came back and put some pressure on her. I was happy with how I played.”
Roggenburk is glad Rondini had already qualified to the district tournament before their match.
“I don’t like it at all but I think it’s nice playing against a teammate,” she said. “We’re super close and there’s no bad blood there. It was a really good match and she’s a great player. I’m excited to see how both of us do in districts.”
Blue Streaks coach Bobbe Bennett didn’t watch the match, choosing to watch her two doubles teams that were simultaneously in action.
“That’s always tough. If we have two that play each other they’re just on their own,” she said. “Most of them play year-round so they’re used to playing USTA matches on their own. They get it.”
Roggenburk will face Westlake’s Emma Peeler, who defeated Rocky River’s Sarah Robertson 7-6 (7-0), 6-2 in the other semifinal. They have met three times already this season, with Roggenburk winning all three.
“I’m looking forward to it,” Peeler said. “The last match we had was pretty good. The score was pretty close … the closest I think I’ve ever gotten to her. I hope I can take what I did in that match and implement it in this next one.”
Magnificat’s doubles team of Emily Pallaki, from Avon Lake, and Hannah Klubnik, from Avon, knocked off St. Joseph’s team of Cassie Van Etten, from Avon Lake, and Abby Weaver 6-4, 6-2 to advance to the sectional final.
“We weren’t happy with how we played, especially in the first set,” Pallaki said. “That was a little tough for us to have to turn on our game. After pumping each other up we came back and dominated the second set.
“There’s room for improvement, but it was good for us.”
Van Etten was happy with the improvement her team showed from earlier this season.
“I think we played really well,” she said. “We played them earlier in the season and lost something like 6-1, 6-0. We’ve really improved throughout the season and I think we competed at the level we’re capable of.”
Bennett liked how her senior duo performed.
“They’re playing great,” she said. “They’re both seniors so it’s great to see them get through. They love playing together and have really good chemistry. In the second set today they played really well together.”
In the other doubles semifinal, Magnificat freshmen Lexi Ospelt, from Avon Lake, and Audrey Smitek, from Avon, won the first set before falling to Westlake’s Demi Jhaveri and Ashley Michelich 4-6, 6-4, 6-3.
“They play a lot of doubles together in the summer and have really jelled well together,” Bennett said. “They practice together and know each other inside and out. It’s great to see them doing well and going to districts.”
Anna Roggenberk (Magnificat) def. Olivia Rondini (Magnificat) 6-1, 6-4; Emma Peeler (Westlake) def. Sarah Robertson (Rocky River) 7-6 (7-0), 6-2.
Emily Pallaki/Hannah Klubnik (Magnificat) def. Cassandra Van Etton/Abby Weaver (St. Joseph) 6-4, 6-2; Demi Jhaveri/Ashley Michelich (Westlake) def. Lexi Ospelt/Audrey Smitek (Magnificat) 4-6, 6-4, 6-3.
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