Aspen’s Williams, No. 2 doubles team to play in third-place match at state

Aspen junior doubles player Grace Ferguson serves during the 3A semifinals match on Friday at the Centennial Courts in Greeley.
Joshua Polson/The Greeley Tribune

When Aspen High School sophomore Mary Williams faced Dawson senior Isha Banerjee in the first playback round of the No. 1 singles bracket at the Class 3A state tennis tournament on Friday in Greeley, it was a chance for Williams to finally get one on a neutral court.

The two had met a couple of times over the past two seasons, but always on Dawson’s fan-filled courts in Lafayette, where Banerjee used the home-court advantage to snag a pair of wins. Friday went a lot differently.

“We had played them before. Mary always has an epic match with this girl,” Aspen girls tennis coach Lauren MacKay said. “She won the first set 6-0 and she was on fire. Then the girl starts to play a little bit better, and Mary ends up winning the second set, 7-5. That was a really great match and she was playing great.”

The win helped propel Williams to Saturday’s 9 a.m. third-place match against Myiah Scott of Eaton. Williams also defeated Peak to Peak sophomore Trisha Somasundaram 6-2, 6-4, after beating Banerjee. Somasundaram had given tournament favorite Sammy Moore-Thomson, a Colorado Academy freshman, a battle in the semifinals before falling 6-4, 4-6, 0-6.

Moore-Thomson, who beat Williams 6-2, 6-0 in the second round Thursday, will play Steamboat Springs freshman Mae Thorp in the championship match Saturday. Williams beat Thorp in the regional finals last week in Grand Junction.

“It’s a great tournament for her because she is playing great and her side of the draw is so heavily weighted with the players,” MacKay said of Williams in the No. 1 singles bracket. “She’s on the bottom part of the bracket and it’s all of the good players. So she kind of got unlucky. Her second-round match was against a girl, a freshman from Colorado Academy, who is unbelievable.”

Aspen’s No. 2 doubles team of junior Grace Ferguson and freshman Karina Keller went 2-0 Thursday to make Friday’s semifinals, but fell 6-1, 6-1 to Cammy Lee and Elisa Dean of D’Evelyn. The Aspen duo battled back to beat Mead’s Emma Drouhard and Mandy Platt in the playback round, 6-1, 6-4.

Ferguson and Keller will face Dawson’s Allie Blank and Isabelle Shehan in Saturday’s third-place match.

“They were in every single game. A lot of the games went to deuces,” MacKay said of Ferguson’s and Keller’s semifinal loss. “I don’t think any team has been to the semis of a state tournament for a long time for Aspen. It’s really awesome. They’ve been playing well.”

Aspen’s No. 3 doubles team of sophomore Bliss Pekkala and freshman Olivia Burkley did not make the playback rounds after falling in the second round on Thursday. Aspen’s No. 3 singles player, senior Anna Citron, lost in the first round on Thursday.