MONTROSE — Emily Hadler’s hopes of earning a berth in the Division I state tennis tournament will come down to one match.
The Highland sophomore won her opening singles match and lost in the quarterfinals Thursday at the Medina District at Springside Racquet & Fitness Club, meaning she must beat Riverside’s Sarah Selan at 8:30 a.m. Saturday to qualify for her first state tournament.
Hadler (33-5), the Medina Sectional champion, beat Selan, the Solon Sectional runner-up, in straight sets two years ago in a United States Tennis Association match.
“I’m just going to try to stay relaxed and have confidence,” the 15-year-old said. “Most importantly, I want to have fun, because that’s when I play my best tennis.”
Because the Medina District draws from much bigger sectional fields than the other three districts in Ohio, it sends the top six singles finishers and top six doubles teams to the state tournament, which will be held Oct. 20-21 at the Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason.
That means entrants must win their first match and one of their next two to secure advancement. Those that win their first two are guaranteed of a top-four finish.
Hadler opened district play with an impressive 6-0, 6-0 victory over Mayfield’s Carolina Stefanski, a fourth-place finisher at the Solon Sectional.
In the quarterfinals, however, she ran into a buzzsaw in the form of Rocky River’s Sarah Robertson, losing 6-0, 6-2.
“She was pretty good,” Hadler said. “I couldn’t get her to miss. She was steady the whole match.”
Robertson, like Hadler a USTA-tested player, was third at the loaded Oberlin Sectional, finishing behind 2016 state runner-up Anna Roggenburk of Magnificat and state quarterfinalist Emma Peeler of Westlake. Those three players easily could capture the top three spots at the Medina District as well, and all are already guaranteed state berths.
“She was a lot like me, but she’s obviously better,” Hadler said the consistent but heavy-hitting Robertson. “She hit it harder and with more spin.”
Medina County’s other two entrants — Medina singles player Elizabeth Stuart and the Wadsworth doubles team of Hannah Jarolim and Patricia De Minon — were eliminated in the first round.
Third at the Medina Sectional, Stuart fell 6-0, 6-0 to Peeler, but the freshman has three more seasons to pursue a state berth.
“It helps me with my confidence for next year,” the 14-year-old said. “I know I can play my best and have opportunities.”
Senior Jarolim, a three-time district qualifier, and sophomore De Minon, an exchange student from Spain, were unseeded but finished fourth at the Medina Sectional. They lost 6-2, 6-0 to Green senior twins Maria and Anna Zivick, who won the Canton Sectional last week and finished second at the 2016 state doubles tournament.
“I liked the experience and my teammates,” De Minon said of playing high school tennis. “I made a lot of friends.”
Already a two-time All-Gazette choice, Jarolim’s illustrious high school career came to an end against an extremely good Green team.
“I’m good friends with them, so I knew it was going to be tough,” she said. “I’m happy with how far I’ve come.”
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