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Luebbe, Miksch make second round of state tennis

May 17, 2019

Aspen Luebbe and Emily Miksch earned a first-round state tournament victory highlighting Columbus High girls tennis performances on Thursday in Omaha. Luebbe and Miksch took down a team from North Platte, one they had beaten earlier this season, in straight sets.

Unfortunately for them, the draw placed them on the bracket with the top-seeded doubles team in the next round. A loss there ended the season for the Discoverer duo and ended Columbus’ trip to the Koch Tennis Center.

None of the other Discoverer competitors were able to make it out of the first round. Lauren Benck at No. 1 singles was beaten in straight sets, No. 2 singles player Melanie Jones suffered the same fate and the No. 2 doubles team of Brooke Benck and Addi Duranski won their opening set but dropped the next and came up short in the tiebreak.

“I thought the girls had a very successful season,” coach Dave Licari said in comments sent to The Telegram. “The girls have much to be proud of with winning the Waverly Invite, finishing second at GNAC Tournament and going 5-1 in duals.”

Luebbe and Miksch took the win over Codi Guerrierri and Samantha Lippal of North Plate thanks to building momentum with a first-set 9-7 tiebreak win. That momentum carried over to the second set where the Columbus pairing dominated 6-2.

They then ran into 31-0 Katie Whitehead and Caroline Miller of Lincoln Southeast and lost 6-1, 6-0 in the next round.

“Aspen and Emily played their best tennis of the season in the loss to Lincoln Southeast,” Licari said. “There were a lot of game points and deuce games that we couldn’t pull out.”

The top Columbus pairing ends the season 14-13. No. 2 doubles finished 16-11 after taking a 6-3 win over Jessica Leung and Summer Nelson of Millard West in the opening set. The Millard West pairing bounced back 6-2 then 10-1 in the tiebreak bouncing Brooke Benck and Duranski from state.

Anna Boyd of Kearney took down Jones 6-3, 6-4 in payback from a match three weeks ago. Lauren Benck faced the No. 4-seeded player, Claire Plachy of Lincoln Pius X, and saw her season end 6-1, 6-0.

Benck finished the season 17-11 while Jones was 17-8.

“Lauren had some good points but was really up against it against Plachy who has a solid all-around game and was worthy of her No. 4 seed,” Licari said. “Melanie definitely wouldn’t make any excuses, but I feel that her asthma played a role today. She was struggling to breathe normally at times.

“Brooke and Addi won the first set, I don’t think they necessarily played poorly in the second set or the tie break, but I thought that Jessica Leung really upped her game to negate a lot of what we were trying to do.

“We are already looking forward to next year as we will return three of the girls that played today plus a group of very solid junior varsity players.”

Nate Tenopir is the sports editor of The Columbus Telegram. Reach him via email at sports@columbustelegram.com.