The only drama in Grain Valley’s 9-0 non-conference victory over Blue Springs South Monday night came at the No. 6 singles match between the Eagles’ Hailey Bowling and South’s Mikayla Haro.
The Eagles had won all three doubles matches and their first five singles matches, and with all her teammates watching, Bowling edged Haro 9-8 (8-6) to complete the sweep.
The victory over their Suburban Big Seven opponent gives the Eagles plenty of momentum heading into tonight’s Missouri River Valley Conference contest at Odessa, where a victory gives them their 10th consecutive conference championship.
“I was even impressed by the way we played tonight, and I think our girls were too,” Grain Valley coach Randy Draper said, adding that the Jaguars ended his team’s 2016 season with an upset victory in district play. “We have developed a great down-the-road rivalry with South.
“Jake (Estep) does a great job with his team, and you know, we were talking during our match today and he has a lot of new kids, and so do we. His kids really played hard, but we found a way to win them all today – and I know the girls are excited about the way they played today and are excited about the chance of winning that 10th (conference) championship tomorrow at Odessa.”
Senior twins Miranda and Mikaela Griechen set the tempo for the victory winning at No. 1 doubles (8-3) and then claimed wins in their singles matches.
“We all remembered losing to them last year and that served as motivation tonight,” said Mikaela, who won 8-3 at No. 3 singles. “And this win gives us a lot of momentum going to Odessa tomorrow. We all want to win that 10th conference championship.”
Miranda nodded in agreement.
“My sister and I were on these courts from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. just about every day this summer because we lost a lot of great seniors off our team last year and we didn’t want to let anyone down this year,” said Miranda, an 8-3 winner at No. 1 singles. “We saw today as a fresh start against South. We were all so disappointed when they beat us last year at district and we wanted to come out today and get a victory. We’re all pretty excited about winning the way we did and we can’t wait for tomorrow to play at Odessa.”
Estep praised the Eagles when the match wound down.
“We have so much respect for Coach Draper and his girls,” Estep said. “They are where we hope to be. We have a lot of new players and today they found out what it’s like to play a quality team. It’s a challenge and I know our girls will take a lot from today and learn from it and use it as motivation down the road.”
Kendra Sibert won at No. 2 singles 8-4, Ryan Deaton 8-4 at No. 4 and Alyssa Owens 8-2 at No. 5 singles.
Sibert and Deaton won 8-4 at No. 2 doubles and Owens and Bowling won 8-2 at No. 3 doubles.
On Saturday, the Eagles won the Marshall Tournament Saturday, taking both duals 2-0.
“It’s kind of a unique tournament and a fun one,” Draper said. “They play six singles and two sets of three doubles matches and we won them both. A lot of kids from our junior varsity got to come up and play and that was a thrill for them.”