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Examiner
  • Jags dominant in district triumph

  • Tuesday was the day the Blue Springs South girls tennis team had been working toward for months. And the result indicated that they were more than ready.

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  • Tuesday was the day the Blue Springs South girls tennis team had been working toward for months. And the result indicated that they were more than ready.
    South notched an impressive 5-0 victory over Blue Springs in a Class 2 District 14 tournament semifinal Tuesday at Young Park with no matches lasting more than two sets. After playing a brutal regular-season schedule that included matches with heavyweights like St. Teresa’s Academy and Branson, this was finally the Jaguars’ chance to show they’re better than their 8-6 record.
    “Our record isn’t the greatest of records, but when you’re playing the best teams in the state, we challenge ourselves every week,” said South coach Craig Dierking. “That’s why we’re the No. 2 seed (in the district) and that’s why we’re going to be playing for the championship tomorrow.”
    The totality of Tuesday’s performance was most impressive to Dierking. Every player showed up, he said, and played nearly flawless tennis. Remy Davenport downed Aspen Walters at No. 2 singles 6-2, 6-4. At No. 3, Liia Butler topped Caitlin Urfer 6-2, 6-1. Isabella Bowling rolled to a 6-0, 6-3 decision over Talia Yeager at No. 4 while Leah Bell bested Lauren Berndt 6-3, 6-2 at No. 5 and Erica McClain clipped Mihaela Evans 6-0, 6-3.
    “We won all five matches in two sets,” Dierking said. “Nobody went to a third set. That’s just coming out and dominating. They played so well. Blue Springs has a great team and they came out and played great today too, but our girls just wanted this.”
    Added McClain: “I thought we came out ready and played really well,” McClain said. “It’s our rival and we really wanted to beat them.”
    The defeat ended a transition season for the Wildcats, who returned just one varsity regular from last season in senior Tara Sheehy. Sheehy split two sets with Madison McCulloch before the No. 1 singles match was called because South had clinched the victory.
    “We did our best and we’ve improved a lot this season,” said Blue Springs senior Lauren Berndt. “I’m happy with where we are and how far we’ve come. Obviously, I wish the result would have been different, but we all worked hard and did all we could.”
    This was the second consecutive season in which the Cats withstood huge roster turnover, and Blue Springs coach Carrie McAtee knew that would make things tough. But while the results didn’t translate into a lot of wins, she said the program is in a solid position moving forward.
    “I think in every position we’ve shown growth and improvement,” she said. “That’s what we look for. I think we’ve shown physical improvement and mental improvement, so we can just build on that for next year.”
    Page 2 of 2 - Now the Jags will once again see how they measure up against one of the state’s best as they take on Lee’s Summit North for the district title. The Broncos swept their regular-season meeting with South 9-0.
    “We’ve been playing for it, we’ve been practicing for it,” Dierking said. “And now it’s time to see where we’re at.”
    LEE’S SUMMIT NORTH 5, FORT OSAGE 0: Lee’s Summit North earned a spot in the Class 2 District 14 finals.
    North lost only three games in sweeping the Indians.
    “They were very focused to start district play,” North coach Stu Reece said of his players. “I really liked how consistent our girls played. We hit the ball very well and took control of each match early.”
    North singles winners were Logan Morrissey (6-1, 6-0), Camryn Parnell (6-0, 6-0), Anna Welsh (6-0, 6-0), Jenna Jefferson (6-1, 6-0) and Christina Leeper (6-1, 6-0).
     
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