ALTOONA – Westmont Hilltop’s Alyssa Kush captured the District 6 Class AA singles title on Wednesday, dropping Central Cambria’s Olivia Ratchford in straight sets, 6-1, 6-1.
It was the second straight District 6 championship for the sophomore, who also beat Ratchford in 2018.
According to Kush, Wednesday’s rematch with the Central Cambria junior had a familiar feel.
“I think it was pretty similar to last year because I know Olivia so well and I’ve played her so many times before,” Kush said. “I kind of knew what to expect going into the match, just the same as last year. What worked well was definitely my slice, and I’ve been working on my forehand a lot since last year.”
There was even a run with deja vu at the start according to the Hilltopper ace.
“I would say things started the same as last year,” Kush noted.
“Not great, but not terrible. Just kind of first-game jitters, I guess.
“Obviously going into the match, even though I know how to play her. I was just a little bit nervous, as I expect everybody gets nervous. After the first game, everything was fine, because I found my game and knew what I was doing.
“I was able to take a step back and be like ‘OK, it’s all right. We’ve gotten past the first game. you’ve got nothing to worry about now.’ ”
There were differences, however, meaning that Kush wasn’t in a complete rerun.
“Her backhand was very strong this year,” Kush said. “Her backhand has always been better than her forehand, but just her ability to hit a great backhand anywhere that you give her a shot. So that put me in a tough position, because I had to hit more of a forehand and go wide on the backhand so she couldn’t attack it.”
Kush will face the runner-up from District 7 on Nov. 1 in the opening round of the PIAA Class AA Tournament in Hershey. Kush reached the quarterfinal in 2018, before falling to South Williamsport’s Olivia Dorner.