The Logan Morrissey-Camryn Parnell tennis doubles partnership stretches back far enough that neither girl can remember exactly when it started.
Suffice to say, the tandem was not new when Morrissey reached Lee's Summit North High School in the fall of 2012, a year after Parnell. They had started playing together on the United States Tennis Association junior circuit and realized they both would be attending North.
“We knew we would be paired up in high school,” Morrissey said. “You grow up with USTA people in your age group.”
Morrissey, a sophomore, and Parnell, a junior, are The Examiner's 2013 Girls Tennis Co-Players of the Year after they finished runner-up in the Class 2 state doubles tournament. A couple days before their 6-0, 7-6 (7-5) loss to Kirkwood's Sarah Stuhlmann and Bridget Mayfield in the championship match, Morrissey and Parnell clinched the Broncos' state team tournament title win with their doubles match.
Morrissey and Parnell defeated Columbia Rock Bridge's Phoebe Boeschan and Sophi Farid 6-4, 6-4 to clinch the team championship as the Broncos finished with a 22-1 record. Earlier in that match they had won their respective singles matches, with Morrissey overcoming a 5-1 deficit in the third set. They also had clinched the team wins against Park Hill South in sectionals and against Jefferson City in the state semifinals, and they finished this season 27-3 in doubles play.
In singles play Morrissey went 14-4, while Parnell, last year's Examiner Player of the Year, went 16-5.
Logically, there's only one more goal to shoot for.
“We're going to win it next year; we've proved we can make it,” Morrissey said.
Lee's Summit North coach Stu Reece said he remembers seeing the two play for the first time when they were in middle school.
“It was hard not to see the potential they had,” he said.
Normally, the coach likes to mix up his doubles teams over the course of the season just to see if a better pairing might be possible. It wasn't necessary in this case, as the only time they haven't paired up in doubles play was when Morrissey was nursing an injury for a couple matches. In 2012 the pair finished sixth at the state doubles tournament, and they helped the Broncos finish third in team competition.
“With these two, their games complement each other so well, there's no need to switch,” he said. “They're so positive with each other. I can't remember a time when either was upset with their partner.”
Both girls believe it's easier to play well together, and simply more fun, because of how well they get along. It also helps in doubles play that both are comfortable playing short-range volleys at the net.
“We really know each other's game so well, we don't have communicate so much,” Parnell said. “We both like to go to the net.”
When asked if there was a particularly memorable match that made them realize this season could be special, Morrissey pointed to a match with Notre Dame de Sion – which proved to be the Broncos’ only loss, and they avenged that in sectional play. Morrissey and Parnell trailed Jane King and Margo Gerke 9-1, 40-love and came back to win 11-10 (7-4).
“Keep fighting,” Morrissey said she remembers thinking, “like I didn’t know what the score is.”
Sometimes, their best competition wore the same colors. Another Bronco doubles team, Alyson Moore and Vilune Sestokaite finished just one win away from also going to state. At times, they faced each other in tournaments, including the Class 2 District 14 championship match, which wasn't always fun.
“They beat us one time in practice,” Morrissey said. “It's touchy, it's going to be awkward.”
“Alyson and Vilune can test us,” Parnell said. “We played them in district finals, it was always as close as the score indicates.”