Blue Springs South seniors Khiara Cox and Jasmine Tucker have been best friends for a long time.
So naturally, they have been teaming together in doubles play for the Jaguars girls tennis squad for the past three seasons. Before each doubles match, the duo goes through a pregame secret handshake routine. It’s just one of the things that helps them bond.
“It’s like five minutes long,” Tucker said of the handshake while laughing. “We do it before they call us onto the court.”
They certainly looked good against Lee’s Summit North, as Cox and Tucker earned the Jaguars’ only doubles win and were two of four singles wins for South in a 5-4 victory over the Broncos Monday at Young Park.
Cox and Tucker, South’s No. 1 doubles team, defeated Kelly Connelly and Sarah Green 8-1.
“I love playing with her,” Tucker said of Cox. “We played a lot together over the summer. We just work well together. We played super good today.”
Cox echoed those sentiments.
“It’s easy to play with her,” Cox said. “We talk a lot. She’s really good at the baseline and we work well together. We air-five sometimes and we hit our rackets together (after scoring a point).”
The duo made the Class 2 sectional round in doubles play in 2017. South coach Jake Estep said they have a chance to make more noise this season.
“They’ve been getting some big wins at No. 1, so they’ve been a big help,” Estep said. “We have a pretty tough district. We have to go through Rock Bridge, who are five time state champions. But we’re going to give a battle.”
After going down 2-1 in doubles play, the Jaguars rallied with four singles wins. Tucker defeated Ashley Borron 10-4 and South’s No. 6 player, freshman Sumerlyn Vorachek, beat Lauren Draney 10-1 as both finished their matches around the same time to clinch the victory.
“My opponent was tough, she kept moving me back and forth,” Tucker said of Borron. “I did good on my serves. I had to get those in because she was very consistent. She got to nearly everything.”
Estep said Monday was Vorachek’s breakout performance.
“I don’t think she came out today knowing that she was the deciding match,” Estep said. “She played the six spot like a pro. She was Steady Eddy. Let the other girl make mistakes and just cruised.”
Vorachek was equally pleased with the way she played.
“It felt really good, especially being new at South as a freshman,” Vorachek said of being one of the match clinching wins. “My strokes have gotten better. And having my dad as a coach is super nice. He’s a tennis coach somewhere else. He’s been a very big influence.”
Cox, South’s No. 2 singles player, defeated Riley Young 10-6, and No. 5 Natalie Nelson topped Morgan McGurk 10-7 to help the Jaguars improve to 3-0 in duals.
For North, the doubles team of Young and McGurk beat Francesca Klosener and Nelson 8-2 and the No. 3 team of Borron and Draney topped Ashley Cooper and Vorachek 9-7.
In singles play, Connelly beat Klosener 10-2 and Green beat Cooper 10-4.
“We played really well in doubles,” North coach Stu Reece said. “And Kelley Connelly played amazing at No. 1 singles for a strong win. She played her best match of the year.
“We had mixed results the rest of the way. We weren’t consistent as we could be. We had the lead in a couple of matches early and let it slip away.”