Another year, another time the Blue Springs South boys tennis team had to face Rockhurst in the sectional round of the Class 2 state tournament.
For the third consecutive year, the Jaguars won their district tournament, only to run into the Hawklets in the sectional round. They took on perennial power Rockhurst and fell 5-0 Friday at the Plaza Tennis Center.
South’s No. 1 singles player Sean Nguyen won his first set 7-6 (7-2 tiebreaker) against Donovan Walsh, and South's No. 6 player Kye Ried was ahead 5-2 in the third set of his match with Hudson Kotre.
Despite both of them being on the verge of victory, Rockhurst's Grant Weideman defeated Justin Cooper 6-2, 6-0 to end the match and send the Hawklets into the state quarterfinals.
"Kye was one point away from winning that match," South coach Nathan Mooney said. "If he would have won 30 seconds earlier, it would have been 5-1 instead of 5-0."
Nguyen, who advanced to next week’s Class 2 state boys singles tennis tournament, got a good test in Walsh before he plays again next Friday.
"Even though he's not going to state in singles, he's a fantastic singles player, " Nguyen said of Walsh. "It's great to get anything in before state. Playing against Rockhurst is the best test you can get in the metro area. Beating him in the first set gave me a lot of confidence."
But he wasn't able to finish his match because of another dominant effort by the Hawklets.
Walsh and Nate Bodde defeated Nguyen and Cooper 8-4 at No. 1 doubles, Weideman and Ian Atwater beat Will Sheridan, and Jason Epps 8-1 at No. 2 and Andrew Kopulos and Nick Stillman topped Keir Bowling and Sammy Klosener 8-0.
"I thought we played solid, but that was Rockhurst's best team. They qualified for state (in doubles)," Nguyen said. "They were more aggressive and attacked more than we did. They were more experienced."
Rockhurst got its other win from Bodde, who beat Klosener 6-0, 6-1.
Despite losing to the Hawklets for the third straight year in sectionals, Mooney was pleased with another district title despite inconsistent play from his team all year.
"I wish we were more consistent," said Mooney, whose team ended the year at 9-10-2. "We sometimes came out strong in doubles then were flat in singles. Or we'd rock it in singles and struggle in doubles. Our consistency should be better next year. Our guys won't move places much. To be able to win districts again was awesome. We went out on a positive note and that's a good thing going into next season.”