Park Hill South tennis comes up 1 win shy of team state berth

Park Hill South’s revenge tour came up one stop short.

The final three duals of the Panthers’ season ended up being against teams they lost to earlier in the season. Lee’s Summit West ended up being the only one of the three able to pull a season sweep.

Park Hill South advanced to the Class 2 quarterfinals for just the third time in an active streak of 10 consecutive playoff appearances but lost 5-3 to the Titans on Saturday, Oct. 8 at Park Hill South High School in Riverside, Mo. to end the season. The Panthers finished 13-4 but were just one win away from reaching the state semifinals and guaranteeing the first state trophy in program history.

Park Hill South had seven seniors but only Suzanne Brown (No. 4) and Halle Nixon (No. 5) were in the top six, while senior Cydney Wuebben played doubles only. The Panthers’ playoff win was the third in program history overall and second in the past two seasons.

To reach the playoffs, Park Hill South beat St. Teresa’s Academy 5-4 in the Class 2 District 15 final, reversing the result of their regular season meeting that ended by the same score. The Panthers then toppled Liberty 5-3 on Saturday morning, having previously lost 7-2 to the Blue Jays.

After doubles, Park Hill South trailed 2-1 with only freshmen Eva Kresovic and Chloe Norris winning. Singles went much differently with Kresovic (No. 1), junior Abby Norris (No. 3), Brown (No. 4) and Nixon (No. 5) all winners in straight sets.

The win against Liberty marked the sixth straight for Park Hill South since its most recent loss, which came in September to Lee’s Summit West. In the playoff rematch, the Titans did just enough in the 5-3 victory after winning 6-3 in the regular season.

Lee's Summit West swept the three doubles matches before Park Hill South nearly mounted the comeback, needing to win five of six in singles.

Kresovic, Nixon and sophomore Claudia Chou all won, including Chou's comeback 2-6, 7-5, 6-2 win to keep the match alive. Lee's Summit West won at Nos. 2 and 3 to finish the dual with the final match not completed.

In Park Hill South’s first two losses of the season, Eva Kresovic had not yet earned eligibility by completing the minimum number of practices. The Panthers lost only twice with her in the lineup, both to Lee’s Summit West.

Kresovic also won the Class 2 District 15 singles championship and a Class 2 Sectional 8 matchup to advance to state. The Panthers’ doubles team of Abby Norris and Chloe Norris also will compete at state after a District 15 title and sectional victory.

All three players from Park Hill South slated to play at state in the individual brackets Friday and Saturday, Oct. 14-15 at Cooper Tennis Complex in Springfield, Mo. will be first-time qualifiers. The Panthers have sent a singles player in five straight seasons (Adele Royle, 2012-14 and Stephanie Boulenger, 2015) but have not put an individual in both state brackets, unless it happened prior to the 2003 season.