Cochrane cruises to semis

CEDAR RAPIDS – Jaci Cochrane immediately proved worthy of the No. 1 seed on Thursday at the Class 2A state tennis meet.

Cochrane, just a freshman, surrendered no games in advancing to the semifinals. She will face Kayla Kuethe from Waukee on Fridya at Veterans Memorial Tennis Center – weather permitting. Action was moved indoors yesterday.

Fort Dodge doubles qualifiers Kari Grindberg and Emily Knight are also guaranteed a medal, as they moved into the consolation semifinals after falling in the first round.

Cochrane, 10-0 on the year, has competed in numerous national tournaments around the U.S. She blitzed past Megan Jans of Iowa City West in the first round, 6-0, 6-0, and moved past Payton Kintz from Johnston by matching scores in the quarterfinals.

Kintz was a state runner-up in doubles last year.

“Jaci just played flawless tennis,” FDSH head coach Karine Feddersen said. “She came out strong and never let up.

“I have high expectations for her (Friday in the semis).”

Cochrane best Kuethe, a returning state qualifier, 6-0, 6-0, earlier this year.

On the other side of the bracket is No. 2 seed Eve Small from Iowa City High and three-seed Liera Bender of Johnston. Cochrane has yet to face Small, but bested Bender 6-3, 6-1 earlier this year.

“(Playing at state) just doesn’t even phase her,” Feddersen said. “You don’t see girls not giving up a single game at state tennis – especially twice in a row.”

Grindberg and Knight, making their state debuts, were defeated by Sarah Lasecki and Jessica Pedersen from Cedar Rapids Kennedy in the first round, 6-3, 7-5. Lasecki and Pedersen are in the state semifinals.

In consolation play, the Dodger duo rebounded to oust Newton’s Jennifer Ventling and Holly VanderPol (1-6, 6-1, 1(10)) and Ankeny’s Olivia and Emily Coe (6-4, 6-4).

“Kari and Emily started off slow,” Feddersen said. “In the (consolation first round) their match was moved indoors (after the first set) and it was the best thing for them, as Emily played some of the best tennis she has ever played in doubles.

“They played a perfect balance of aggressive and smart tennis (in defeating the Ankeny duo).”