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Three tennis stars see their season end

From Mirror reports

The high school tennis season came to an end Tuesday afternoon for three area scholastic players in the first round of the PIAA State Tournament.

Altoona sophomore Morgan Stevens, a District 6 champion, got to play at home at Mansion Park against Stroudsburg’s Paris Briegel, also a district champ. Stevens wound up losing, 6-3, 6-3.

“Anytime you have two district champs playing, you are going to have some really good tennis and Morgan did a good job of making her work,” Altoona coach Eric Hovan said. “But credit to Paris. She hit some big shots at some big times, but Morgan is only a sophomore and this was her first time in the state tourney. She had a great performance and hopefully she can build on this.”

The fact that Stevens got to play outdoors in November on a court she was more than familiar with was also seen as a positive.

“We found out over the last week we were going to play there,” Hovan said. “Her style is more of a counter-puncher and playing on that surface outdoors definitely benefited her. Anytime you can play outside in November on a 65-degree, sunny day in front of friends and

family is a good thing.”

Central Cambria’s doubles team of Olivia Ratchford and Coco Markovich also got to play, but the Ebensburg duo had to travel to Wexford to play at the Oxford Tennis Center against Knoch’s Brooke and Ally Bauer.

The Bauer sisters wound up winning, 6-0, 6-2.

“I think it was tough, this whole COVID-19 situation was tough for them. It didn’t feel like a state tourney for the girls. There was a PIAA official there, but it was not the same as going to Hershey,” Central Cambria coach Kim Cavalier said. “I felt bad for our girls.”

Ratchford is a senior who leaves as a four-time District 6 doubles champion, one with Markovich, who is only a junior. It had been three weeks since the duo won their district title.

“I think our girls did great. They did really well against them,” Cavalier said. “I was proud of them, especially with the long break between matches. We had to find matches for them around here to stay sharp. They did everything they could to get ready for this.”

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