Park Hill South team bows out of state tennis bracket

After a close first match the Park Hill South doubles pair of Andrew Robaska and Cooper Hayes went 0-2 and were eliminated from the Class 2 Missouri State Tennis Championships on Friday, May 25 at the Cooper Tennis Complex in Springfield, Mo.

The junior pair lost their first set to eventual sixth-place finishers Matthew Zengel and Caden Hillman of Kickapoo 6-4, before forcing a third set with a 6-3 win in the second set. Robaska and Hayes lost 6-3 in the third set to fall into the consolation side of the bracket.

In the first round of consolation the pair fell in a tiebreaker to eventual seventh-place finishers Simon Kauppila and Jack Shi of Marquette. In the second set the Panthers pair suffered another 6-3 defeat.

“Making it to state was a big accomplishment for Andrew and Cooper,” Park Hill South coach Ian Cunliff said. “They worked very hard and showed tremendous growth over the course of the season.  I think it gives them a jumpstart on their senior season and hopefully they will be able to build on everything they have learned.”

The pair formed a fast partnership after Hayes moved southward last summer after playing as Park Hill’s No. 1 player.

He immediately provided more depth for the Panthers who finished as Class 2 District 16 team champions, defeating Platte County 5-3. Hayes and Robaska won the Class 2 District 16 doubles title with a win against Platte County’s Noah Singer and Spencer Klopfer before dispatching Liberty’s No. 2 doubles team in sectionals to earn their state berth.

“Cooper had a tremendous impact on the team,” Cunliff said. “Having someone come in and play number one helps out the entire strength of the team.  It is worth a number of wins down the ladder.”

The pair were the first state qualifiers for Park Hill South since 2015 when Josh Robaska, Andrew’s cousin, and JD Nassab finished eighth at state.