As the sun dipped over the horizon and the lights were turned on at Wilbur Young Park, Blue Springs South tennis coach Jake Estep walked onto the west court at the complex and congratulated Sumerlyn Vorachek, his No. 6 singles player.
The freshman had just topped Grain Valley’s Hailey Bowlin 6-2, 7-5 to earn the fifth win of the night and give the Jaguars a 5-2 victory over coach Randy Draper’s Eagles in a Class 2 District 13 semifinal. When a team wins its fifth victory, the other matches are halted.
The win earns the Jaguars a trip to Columbia today, where they will meet five-time defending state champion Columbia Rock Bridge in the district championship match.
“It’s going to be a David vs. Goliath match tomorrow in Columbia,” Estep said, as his Jaguars are a decided underdog, “but we played some great tennis today and beat a very good Grain Valley team and we’re excited to see what we can do tomorrow.”
He was also excited about his team’s performance as No. 1 Francesca Klosener edged Alyssa Owens 6-4, 2-6, 6-0 at No. 1 singles, No. 3 Jasmine Tucker downed Mackensie Wagner 6-4, 6-3 and Vorachek clinched it at No. 6.
The team of Klosener and Ashley Cooper won 8-4 at No. 1 doubles and Khiara Cox and Tucker won 8-4 at No. 2 doubles.
“I had no idea my win clinched the match for us, but my win was no more important than any of the others win today – it just happened to be the fifth win,” Vorachek said. “It’s just so exciting to win this district semifinal and to play again tomorrow. We’re more like a family than a team and want to keep playing as long as we can.”
It was also a big day for Klosener, a senior who won singles and doubles on her last appearance on the Jaguars’ home court.
“This is so exciting for me to win my last matches here at home because I’m a senior,” Klosener said. “And when I was a freshman I won a singles match at district, which I thought about today when Sumerlyn won her match to help us win tonight. I’ve just got so many memories right now – it’s a great feeling.”
Grain Valley’s Maddie Shields beat Cooper 6-4, 6-3 at No. 4 singles and teamed with Chelsea Gorden to win 9-8 (7-5) at No. 3 doubles.
“I can’t say enough good things about what Maddie did tonight, and I’m proud of all our girls,” Draper said. “Winning that doubles match was huge, because our chances were slim if we went into singles without a win.
“I am just super proud of all our girls. We lost to them 5-4 in the regular season and our girls came over here and played their hearts out. South played a lot of good tennis tonight and so did we.”