Ragsdale, Webber 5th at state; Skibba 6th

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By: 
Rob Reischel
Allison Ragsdale (left) and Abbey Webber (right) finished fifth at the state doubles tournament./Times-Tribune photo by Mary Langenfeld

They turned their pain to gain.

Instead of hanging their heads, they responded in memorable fashion.

Middleton girls tennis standouts Allison Ragsdale and Abbey Webber — the No. 2 seed at the WIAA Division 1 state tournament — fell in the quarterfinals last Friday at Nielsen Tennis Stadium. But the Cardinals’ terrific tandem responded with a pair of wins Saturday and finished fifth overall.

No, it wasn’t the finish Webber and Ragsdale wanted. But the pair showed great resiliency and strength after suffering their toughest loss of the season.

“I was honestly really upset when we lost in the quarterfinals,” Ragsdale said after the tournament. “Abbey and I had such a great season, so my expectations were really high.

“It was a real bummer, but I'm proud of how Abbey and I reacted on Saturday. We could've come to Saturday not caring about winning anymore, but Abbey and I showed how we normally play that day.”

Middleton junior Kaisey Skibba also finished in sixth place in the singles bracket. Skibba entered the tournament seeded seventh.

“I’m happy with that,” Skibba said. “It was a great year. Just overall, I practiced a lot and worked on a lot of different aspects of my game. I know I got a lot better.”

It was a tough road throughout for Webber and Ragsdale. In the end, though, the navigated it with aplomb.

After a first round bye, the Cardinals’ pair toppled Meg Hartzell and Alyssa Schafer of Oshkosh North, 6-4, 6-1, Friday morning to reach the Round of 16.

There, Webber and Ragsdale edged Brookfield Central’s Annie Porritt and Libby Protz, 6-1, 4-6, 6-3, to reach the quarterfinals.

There, Waunakee’s Bailey Chorney and Bobbi Stricker toppled Webber and Ragsdale, 7-5, 6-2.

“I was disappointed in myself that I played my worst tennis all season on the day of state,” Webber said. “I knew that the Waunakee match would be difficult, even though we beat them in straight sets in sectionals. To their credit, they played well. They limited their shots down the middle and made the majority of their returns.”

Webber and Ragsdale then moved to the consolation bracket Saturday, where they met Nicolet’s Michelle Margolies and Erin Wathen (30-3) — the tournament’s No. 3 seed.

But the Cardinals’ tandem had a terrific recovery and notched a 6-3, 6-7 (4), 6-2 win.

“We played for every point because we know there are only a number of matches left together,” Ragsdale said. “And we want to cherish every minute of it.”

Middleton’s duo then defeated Cedarburg’s Amanda Skonieczny and Lauren Weise, 7-6 (4), 6-4, to claim fifth place.

“Obviously it's an honor to podium at state, even if Allison and I were supposed to get second,” Webber said. “Going into state all I wanted to do was podium, and I'm happy we were able to do that, even if it wasn't second.
“It was really awesome that we were able redeem ourselves from Friday, and come out on top. Even though state didn't go as plan, I'm super proud of Allison and I for getting fifth at state.”

Skibba had a terrific weekend, too.

After a first round bye, Skibba defeated Emily Pepperl of Eau Claire Memorial, 6-2, 6-2, to reach the round of 16. Skibba then bested Nina Gerard of Nicolet, 6-1, 7-5, to reach the quarterfinals.

There, Skibba fell to Arrowhead’s Emily Kalbow — the tournament’s No. 2 seed — 6-1, 6-0.

“It’s been fun to play people that are really good,” Skibba said. “That made it a really fun year.

“It’s been a lot of fun to be the No. 1 singles player on the team. I know every match is going to be tough. That’s been a lot of fun.”

Middleton’s Emily Oberwetter also competed in the singles tournament and won her first round match, 6-3, 6-1, over Emma Anderson of Watertown. But Oberwetter then fell to West Bend East’s Lexi Keberle — the tournament’s No. 1 seed and the eventual champion — 6-0, 6-0.

Middleton’s second doubles team of Baylie Gold and Lauren Coons lost their first match to Maria Mihailescu and Cristina Villalovas of De Pere, 6-1, 6-3.

Middleton now heads to the state team tournament this weekend.

The Cardinals, who are the defending state champs, meet Brookfield East Friday at 5:30 in the quarterfinal match.

The semifinals are Saturday at 9 a.m. and the finals are at 2 p.m.

“I hope our team does well, but I think it will be hard to win it like last year,” Skibba said. “I still think we can do really good and have fun.”

 

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