Before her state quarterfinal match against Forest Lake’s Toby Boyer on Thursday afternoon, Rochester Century’s Jessie Aney spoke about Boyer’s powerful hitting. She knew it would be tough to handle on just under two hours rest.
Her comment was on point.
Throughout the match Aney found herself playing defensively, catching up to Boyer’s dominant returns. Boyer rode that heavy hitting to a 6-2, 6-0 victory in the 2A boys’ tennis tournament at the University of Minnesota Baseline Tennis Center.
“It was really fun, honestly. I think we had a lot of great points,” Aney said. “He’s just a great player. I was happy I won two games. I think it was probably fun to watch for the spectators. We had a lot of great rallies. He hit a lot of insane shots like he always does. He was just too good today.”
It was Aney's first loss of the season.
“I played my game and enjoyed it,” Boyer said. “She just couldn’t keep up with the pace and the spin of the ball.”
She was allowed to play on the boys' team because she had not played for the Rochester Century girls’ team this year.
Although Aney won the first game, and drew applause from the crowd for a few brilliant returns, she kept waiting in vain for Boyer to falter.
Aney returned one slicer, but Boyer returned the ensuing shot and Aney hit the return shot wide. Aney also routinely left balls high and forced herself to make difficult returns. Boyer went up 5-1 in the first set, and although Aney responded and won a game to cut the deficit to 5-2, Boyer sealed the set 6-2.
On one volley in the second set, Boyer forced the junior to the net and she dropped a return shot where Boyer couldn’t reach it. But early in the second set, Aney continued to have trouble. She swung and missed one Boyer return, and all she could do was shake her head and smile.
Boyer advanced to play Shakopee’s Jackson Allen in the semifinals on Friday. “It should be a fun match,” Boyer said. “I’m feeling pretty confident, but he’s a good player.
Earlier Thursday, Aney defeated Nathan Parsons of Como Park in front of filled bleachers around theiur court at the U.
“Standing room only?” Aney asked afterward.
The first set went to a tiebreak and the second went back-and-forth, before Aney won 7-6 (3), 6-3.
“The atmosphere was great. There was a lot of people watching, which I think is really fun,” Aney said. “I think it was a good start to the tournament. I fought hard and I did what I had to do to win that match. To be tested in my first round and to get into the tournament by having to compete really hard in my first round, hopefully will be beneficial.”
Aney and Parsons traded points for most of the match. In the first set, Aney went ahead 2-1, then 3-2, and eventually 4-3.
Aney, who plays for Rochester Century, caused Parsons to routinely shake his head and mutter under his breath. But quickly it was Parsons frustrating Aney, taking a 6-5 set lead and causing the even-keeled player to yell “Focus, Jessie!” as she walked to her bench.
But Aney tied the set 6-6, and quickly won the tiebreaker 7-3. Aney, once again, took 2-1 and 3-2 leads, and didn’t lose a set for the rest of the match.