Blue Springs tennis coach Anna Cole was a little concerned, and perplexed, when the Wildcats’ No. 1 doubles team of Luke David and Dylan Shryer dropped its match Tuesday.
David and Shryer, after all, had played lights out the day before in leading Blue Springs to victory in the William Chrisman tournament. And if the two struggled in singles in the dual against Grain Valley, Cole knew it could be a long day for the Wildcats.
“At one of the changeovers I was like, guys get it together,” Cole said. “I don’t know what happened between yesterday and today, but I need you to stick it out.”
Cole apparently got her point across. David and Shryer both bounced back with victories in singles, and that propelled Blue Springs to a 5-4 victory over the Eagles at Grain Valley High School.
David, a junior, and Shryer, a sophomore, dropped an 8-3 decision against Grain Valley’s Joel Florida and Trenton Tarrants in the No. 1 doubles match. That was the Wildcats’ only doubles loss, which proved to be the difference after the two teams split the six singles matches.
David recovered to beat Florida 10-4 in No. 1 singles, and Shryer topped Dean Mobley by the same score in No. 2 singles.
“I’m happy they showed up in their singles,” Cole said. “Because I was nervous after we lost that (No. 1) doubles.”
David said he was a little concerned, as well, after struggling in doubles.
“I was a little bit nervous after the doubles match because we lost pretty badly,” David said. “But I had a talk with my coach and she said, ‘that doesn’t matter at all now.’ And I realized that’s true. I had a lot of incentive to win for the team.”
Jay’von McKinney had Blue Springs' other victory in singles, a 10-0 decision over Jesse Arnold that clinched the match for the Wildcats. Tarrants topped Josh Gordon 10-3 in No. 3 singles, Bryson Martin beat Carson Rothove 10-8 at No. 5 and Tristin Whitton downed Daniel Gordan 11-9 in No. 6 singles for Grain Valley.
Even with the loss at No. 1 doubles, Blue Springs still had a 2-1 lead going into singles. Gordon and McKinney toughed out a back-and-forth 8-6 victory over Mobley and Arnold at No. 2, while Rothave and Gordon downed Martin and Brady Slater 8-4 at No. 3.
“That was huge,” Cole said. “It’s hard if you come out of doubles down 0-3 or 1-2. I made sure to tell every varsity player hey we’re up 2-1 right now and I need you to use that momentum and ride that through your singles matches.”
Blue Springs rode that momentum and improved to 1-1 in duals. Grain Valley, which lost most of its top varsity players from last season, fell to 0-4 after a second-straight 5-4 loss.
“Our (No. 1) team, that was a really good win for them,” Grain Valley coach Randy Draper said. “We’re getting better but to win, we’ve got to make another jump.”