Isabella Bowling had just won the singles match of her life, and she didn't even know it.
That's because the Blue Springs South senior downed Blue Springs' Mihaela Evans 6-3, 6-4 to wrap up a 5-0 Class 2 District 14 semifinal win for the Jaguars Tuesday afternoon at Young Park.
“I came off the court and everyone was all excited,” said Bowling, the Jaguars’ No. 4 singles player, “and I'm like, 'What's going on?' And they told me we'd won (the semifinals) and I got all excited. Beating a rival like Blue Springs and winning the semifinals your senior year is pretty exciting.”
The Jaguars needed less than an hour to claim the district semifinal win as Remy Davenport topped Aspen Walter 6-1, 6-4; Leah Bell defeated Mickey Urfer 6-0, 6-3; Emily Conaty stopped Faith Baker 6-3, 6-2; Tiffany Davenport (Remy's freshman sister) got past Jazmine Peterson 6-0, 6-4; and Bowling claimed her big win.
“This is great, I'm really happy for the girls,” said first-year coach and 2009 South grad Jake Estep. “We have five seniors and Tiffany, so I adopted a very strong team. They came into today's match and did what we expected them to do.
“It hasn't been that long since I graduated from South, and I know what the rivalry against Blue Springs is like, so we're all pretty excited. I'm just happy that all the seniors go to experience this type of success their last year at South.”
Blue Springs coach Carrie McAtee said she has seen steady improvement from her young Wildcat team this year and is looking forward to the future.
“We knew it would be tough, and it was,” McAtee said. “They have a strong team with a lot of experience. But we have a lot of kids back next year and they graduate their top five, so we're hoping it will be a lot more competitive next year and we'll have more success.”
Remy Davenport, who is also a three-year starter for the Jaguars basketball team, said this has been a special tennis season.
“I got to play with my sister, which was a lot of fun,” Davenport said, “and we had a good season. We may not have the most experienced players, but we have a lot of good athletes who have been playing tennis for a long time and we had five seniors.
“Going into this year, I thought we'd have a lot of success, and we did. Today was really great because we won the district semifinals and we beat Blue Springs. And if you're from South and you beat Blue Springs in any sport, it's a big deal.”
There were no doubles matches because the first team to five wins advances. Erica McClain, the No. 3 singles player for South, was still on the court when Bowling won her match, clinching the win.
Blue Springs moved into the semifinals by downing William Chrisman 5-0 Monday. Walters (6-1, 6-1), Urfer (6-0, 6-2), Talia Yeager (6-1, 6-3), Evans (6-0, 6-1) and Peterson (6-1, 6-3) all won singles matches to lift the Wildcats.
LEE’S SUMMIT NORTH 5, TRUMAN 0: North’s top five singles players didn’t drop a game in a clean sweep of Truman in the other semifinal at North.
Logan Morrissey, Camryn Parnell, Vilune Sestokaite, Jenny Krause and Alyson Moore all won 6-0, 6-0.
No. 6 player Beta Lear did not finish her match because the Broncos had the necessary five wins.
“The girls were really impressive today,” Broncos coach Stu Reece said. “They were all in complete control … and were able to hit any shot they wanted.”