Thursday’s afternoon winds added an extra challenge to the crosstown rivalry tennis match between Blue Springs and host Blue Springs South, and the more-experienced Jaguars handled the conditions at Young Park well enough to post a convincing 8-1 victory.
By winning its Suburban Big Six opener, South improved to 3-5 overall. Blue Springs fell to 2-4 (1-1 Big Six).
“We played a top-heavy schedule with some really good private schools,” South coach Jake Estep said. “We’ve yet to be beaten really hard.
“They all played well. There’s a few girls that could’ve played better, but they pulled it out in the end, which is what we expected. We came here expecting to win, and we did.”
The solid play started in doubles, where Bella Bowling and Leah Bell posted a 10-6 win over Aspen Walters and Talia Yeager at No. 1, and sisters Remy and Tiffany Davenport downed Faith Baker and Mihaela Evans by the same score at No. 2. South’s Emily Conaty and Erica McClain handled Nickey Urfer and Shelbee Sterthman by a 10-3 count.
At No. 1 singles, Remy Davenport won the last four games to beat Walters 10-7.
“My net play kept me in both matches – being patient and waiting for the right times,” she said. “We’re definitely not used to playing in the wind; it’s tough to adjust to on both sides.
“When you’re with the wind, being at the net’s definitely easier.”
Bell pulled away from Urfer for a 10-6 win at No. 2; Bowling outlasted Evans 10-8 at No. 4; and Conaty downed Baker 10-4 at No. 5. Tiffany Davenport normally plays No. 6 singles for the Jaguars, but since it was the team’s senior day, Estep inserted Jordan Burns into that slot and she posted a 10-4 win over Jasmine Peterson.
Blue Springs’ lone win came at No. 3 singles, where Talia Yeager overcame a 6-1 deficit to McClain, plus a sore ankle and right quad muscle to nab a 10-8 win. Yeager acknowledged that dealing with McClain’s funky punch-hitting style took some time.
“I just needed to get into the game; I just needed to keep hitting,” Yeager said. “Then I started moving her side to side.”
Blue Springs coach Carrie McAtee said her young team – the varsity lineup is senior-less – is improving.
“We’ve got a lot of work to do, but they’re making matches more and more competitive,” she said. “We’ve gotta be able to put more points together in a row.”
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