There would be no comfortable victory, despite a 6-3 final score at Winnetonka High School. Platte County ended up winning two of three doubles matches but needed a tiebreaker in one and a late comeback in another. The drawn-out conclusion forced the Pirates (2-2, 1-1 Suburban League Blue Division) to sweat out the critical matchup after losing its conference opener two days earlier against Kearney.
“It is hard to be up 4-2 after singles and really focus in because you know all you need is one more,” Platte County coach Zach Keith said. “I think that probably had a lot to do with the lack of focus at the beginning of the (doubles) matches. It was good to see the guys, whenever we really had to, it was good to see us finish them off.”
Platte County led 4-2 after singles, with Spencer Kunz (No. 2), Andy Day (No. 3), Zack Regan (No. 5), and Brody Nordike (No. 6) all picking up victories. The Pirates coasted into doubles needing only one more victory, and the Griffins certainly made it interesting. Ultimately, the Pirates prevailed with victories at No. 1 doubles and No. 3 doubles, but both matches were tight throughout.
Parker Ward and Spencer Kunz — Platte County’s top two singles players — were still locked in a tight matchup at No. 1 doubles against Collin Monsees and Chris Frazier when Regan and Nordike locked up the dual with a 11-9 victory in No. 3 doubles.
However, Ward and Kunz rallied from a 10-9 deficit and came back to win 11-10 (7-1) in a tiebreaker, an important showing for a Pirates squad still trying to learn how to close out victories.
“We want to have fun, but we also want to have a winning record (as a team) at the end of the day,” said Kunz, a sophomore who played junior varsity last season before moving up to No. 2 singles.
Platte County went 4-2 in the singles matches despite a 10-4 loss for Ward against Monsees at No. 1. One of only two players back with significant varsity experience, Ward fell behind early but closed to within 5-4 after taking back-to-back games. He appeared to be reenergized by the quick surge but couldn’t overcome Monsee’s blistering forehands on the way to his first loss of the season.
“I’ve overcome getting nervous before every match,” Ward said of the transition from No. 3 to the top spot in the lineup. “I definitely have the pressure on me, but I feel like the team has my back if I do lose. I just feel like I have more confidence than I did last year.”
Kunz won comfortably at No. 2, and Platte County appeared ready to lock the match up with victories from Andy Day, Regan and Nordike. At No. 5, Regan won the final two games in his 10-7 victory to hold off a late charge and pad the margin for error entering doubles.
Kearney 6, Platte County 3
The Bulldogs were victorious in this rivalry matchup for the first time since 2010, winning four of six singles matches. Ward and Kunz were victorious in the top two spots for Platte County in singles — both by an 8-4 scores — and then paired to win the No. 1 doubles match.
Park Hill 5, Lee’s Summit 4
The Trojans won four singles matches and received the deciding victory from the No. 3 doubles team of Chandler To and Harim Lee, who defeated Joe Jacobi and David Musgrave 8-3. Lee, one of only two seniors in the top six, also secured one of the singles victories, beating Jacobi 10-3 at No. 5.
Noah Higgins-Dunn, the other senior, won 10-6 at No. 4 singles.
Lee’s Summit claimed the first two doubles matches, including a 9-8 (7-5) tiebreaker win for Ethan Henry and Alec O’Connor at No. 2 against Park Hill’s Jake McFee and Sean Moise.
Park Hill South 7, Lee’s Summit North 2
The Panthers claimed their first win of the season Thursday, April 2, dominating from start to finish.
Three of the four seniors in the top six won singles matches for Park Hill South (1-3), coming off of losses to Rock Bridge (9-0) and Hickman (7-2) two days earlier. Josh Robaska (No. 1), Brian Day (No. 3) and Mark Fricke (No. 4) were all victorious. JD Nassab, the fourth returner in the starting lineup, also won at No. 2 singles.