The competitiveness of Thursday’s girls tennis match between Grain Valley and Blue Springs South wasn’t shown as much in the final result as long it took to achieve that result.
The Jaguars fought to a 7-2 win over their neighboring rival, but the match at Young Park took three hours to complete. Grain Valley just bumped up this year to Class 2 and is in the same district as South come postseason time.
“It was a battle,” said South coach Jake Estep, whose team dropped two tough matches to Columbia Rock Bridge and Jefferson City earlier this week. “Five of our six singles players were down early.”
South nearly swept the doubles matches, but Grain Valley’s top duo of Kayelee Smith and Hannah Wiechmann overcame deficits of 3-0 and 8-7 against Tiffany Davenport and Ashley Brennan to force a tiebreaker, where they managed the last four points for a 9-8 (8-6) win.
“It could’ve gone either way,” Estep said of that match. “They had three match points and couldn’t put it away, and they came out of that match hungry – you could tell. Tiffany got an early lead and Ash fell behind early but came roaring back.
“We have a top-heavy schedule, and I think the girls learned from those tough matches. It made my job easy today.”
South got doubles wins from Emily Allgeyer and Savana Martin over Mikki Sickle and Sidney Shields (8-3) and Taylor Freund and Sierra Mann over Carly Hofstetter and Kristin Vanzandt (8-4).
In their respective singles matches, Martin trailed Wiechmann at No. 2, 5-1, but started dictating more points and came back for a 9-7 win, while Allgeyer rallied for a 4-1 deficit and finished an 8-5 win within a minute of Martin. The two said they carried over momentum from playing just their second doubles match together.
“I think we complement each other well,” Martin said. “She’s good at the net ...
“... And she’s good on overheads,” Allgeyer finished.
“You just kind of get in the mindset of taking it point-by-point and see how it goes,” Allgeyer said of her comeback.
“Whenever I get mad, I start to serve better,” Martin added.
At No. 1 singles Davenport beath Smith 8-4. The Jaguars’ other singles wins came from Brennan over Hofstetter (8-6) and Freund over Shields (8-3). Grain Valley’s Chelsea Blosser rallied late for an 8-6 win over Mann in the final match to finish.
“I was really excited about playing this match, because I knew it would be good for both of us,” Grain Valley coach Randy Draper said. “It’s good that we learned we needed to get better.
“Every kid was in a highly competitive match, and a lot of these kids know each other. There will be great matches in the district.”
South’s junior varsity also won by a 7-2 score.