‘Rough day’ for Aspen tennis

Jon MaletzThe Aspen TimesAspen, CO Colorado

GRAND JUNCTION Aspen’s No. 2 doubles team of Georgia Lipkin and Hana Maclean slipped up for the first time this season. Unfortunately, it came in the season’s most pivotal match.The duo, which entered Thursday’s 4A regionals in Grand Junction with a 9-0 record, had their run of perfection ended against Vail Mountain School – and so did their hopes of booking a trip to state next weekend in Pueblo.The match highlighted a day of close calls and disappointment for the Skiers. While three doubles teams will compete for consolation titles this morning, they can finish no better than third – only the top two teams qualify for state. Consequently, Aspen will not begoing to state for the second time in three years.”My expectations for today really were with Hanna and Georgia going all the way,” Aspen head coach David Rogers said. “If any team had potential for state, it was them. … That was a disappointment.”Lipkin and Maclean seemed destined for a trip to state. After a first-round bye, they cruised to an impressive 6-2, 6-1 victory over Roaring Fork. Rogers said he was confident when the duo drew VMS in the semifinals; Lipkin and Maclean topped the Gore Rangers, 6-2, 6-3, when the teams met two weeks earlier.Things did not go as smoothly Thursday, however. Inclement weather delayed the start of the match. When they finally hit the court, Lipkin and Maclean weren’t themselves, Rogers said. “They just didn’t jive. They looked tired,” he added. “This was bound to happen. Unfortunately, it didn’t come at the best time.”They took it in stride. They knew they beat themselves.”Rogers’ daughter, Mimi, and No. 3 doubles teammate Rio Crandall also advanced to the semifinals, only to see their hopes dashed. The duo avenged an early-season defeat to Glenwood with a 6-2, 1-6, 6-3 victory. They shook off the shock of a 0-6 first-set loss against VMS, but wound up dropping a tight second set, 5-7.”They really came back strong,” David Rogers said. “They almost got them. If they won that second set, they would’ve taken it.”No. 4 doubles teammates Melissa Carr and Sydney Mandry will also have to settle for a shot at a consolation title. The duo dropped their second-round match to Steamboat, but, on the strength of some late heroics, managed to advance through the consolation bracket. After cruising in their first consolation match with Montrose (6-2, 6-4), the duo found themselves leading by one set against Montezuma-Cortez but trailing, 3-4, in the second. They battled back to tie at 4-4 and 5-5 and, after facing a 5-6 deficit, pulled off a 7-6 win.”They had four set points against them, but they kept creeping,” Rogers said. “It was a great rally.”There was little consolation, however, for Aspen’s No. 1 singles player Whitney Hubbell. She won just one game in an opening-round loss to VMS, then fell in straight sets to Steamboat.VMS’ No. 3 singles was a headache for Aspen’s Casey Altman, too. After rolling in her first-round match against Roaring Fork (6-0, 6-2), Altman lost to Vail (4-6, 1-6), then dropped a three-setter to Delta. No Skiers will be heading to state for the first time since 2006. French foreign exchange student Clara Kobuch was the lone Aspen player to qualify last season. “I was expecting us to do better,” Rogers said candidly. “It’s been a rough day for Aspen.”