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Barlow High standout reaches semifinals at World Junior Racquetball championships

PMG PHOTO: DAVID BALL - Barlow High senior Annie Roberts won a bronze medal at last weeks World Junior Racquetball championships in Costa Rica.

Barlow High senior Annie Roberts scored a three-set win over the No. 1 seed to return home from last week's World Junior Racquetball championships with a bronze medal.

Roberts knew she had a challenge waiting when the bracket was released and she saw No. 1 seed Guadalupe Griffin ahead as a potential semifinal opponent. Griffin, representing Mexico, beat Roberts in straight sets at the Worlds two years ago.

But first Roberts would have to reach the Final Four.

She did that with ease, surrendering only one point in a first-round win over Cuba's Suniaris Rodriguez.

"We saw what side of the bracket we landed on and knew who was waiting," said Roberts' coach Brian Ancheta with Cascade Athletic Club. "Annie was focused and played a great match."

Roberts battled for a three-set victory, but it wouldn't come easy.

After dropping the first set 15-12, Roberts switched to a lob serve that caught her opponent in the back corner of the court, and raced through the second set 15-4.

"Her opponent had trouble with that and Annie was able to put some shots away," Ancheta said.

Griffin regained her footing in the third set and raced to a quick 7-2 lead in the race to 11.

"She called timeout and we talking about hanging in there — to just keep fighting," Ancheta said. "Momentum changes pretty quickly in racquetball. You hit some shots and the other player starts to feel some pressure — it's like a snowball."

Roberts returned to the court and buried Griffin in an avalanche, winning nine of the last 10 points to advance to the semifinals.

Roberts dropped that next match to eventual-champion Maricruz Ortiz out of host-country Costa Rica.

Roberts split her pool-play matches, taking a quick 15-3, 15-2 win over Ecuador's Adrianna Valdez and falling 15-4, 15-13 to Micaela Meneses out of Bolivia.

Next up for Roberts is her final high school season with the Bruins playing their first league tournament on Dec. 14.

This story is slated for our Friday, Nov. 22, print edition.

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