Park Hill tennis just misses win vs. Lee's Summit North

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — In the most competitive dual so far this season, Park Hill displayed the kind of energy Tim Kalis wants to see in his return to coaching.

NICK INGRAM/Citizen photo Park Hill senior Lily Cota hits a serve during a dual with Lee’s Summit North on Thursday, Aug. 31 at Barry Park in Kansas City, Mo.

NICK INGRAM/Citizen photo
Park Hill senior Lily Cota hits a serve during a dual with Lee’s Summit North on Thursday, Aug. 31 at Barry Park in Kansas City, Mo.

The Trojans came back to earn a split of singles with wins for freshman Maisie Markowitz (No. 1) and juniors Kansas Dreps (No. 2) and Lauren Steckelberg (No. 4), but too many tight losses in a Suburban Conference Gold Division dual with Lee’s Summit North added up. The Broncos held on for a 5-4 win after taking two of three doubles matches.

Park Hill lost a second straight and dropped to 2-3 overall but displayed promise again with just one senior in the lineup.

“We have some youth,” Kalis said, “and my hope for this team and this program is to bring a lot of passion to it because when you’re excited about playing, even your youngsters see that passion inside your heart and that you care about them and that you care about the sport.”

Steckelberg and Dreps earned Park Hill’s lone doubles victory at No. 2 by an 8-6 score.

Markowitz and McFee trailed 6-1 early in the No. 1 match before fighting back within one game at 6-5. Lee’s Summit North’s Emily Gerber and Kaylie Rock held on for an important 8-6 victory that helped swing the matchup.

Early in the season, Markowitz has occupied Park Hill’s No. 1 spot, while McFee recently moved down to No. 3 from No. 2. Kalis has kept the youthful duo together at No. 1 doubles for now and wasn’t disappointed with their most recent result.

NICK INGRAM/Citizen photo Park Hill freshman Maisie Markowitz hits a forehand during a doubles match.

NICK INGRAM/Citizen photo
Park Hill freshman Maisie Markowitz hits a forehand during a doubles match.

“That shows quite a bit of maturity so I’m excited about that,” he said. “It looked tough because they were down 1-6, and I walked away because I’m a littlesuperstitious, too, and I think mental toughness is such an important part of any sport.

“I think that shows that mental toughness, and it’s nice to see that out of a freshman and out of a sophomore.”

Steckelberg recorded the dual’s most lopsided result with a 10-0 win at No. 4 singles.

Markowitz won 10-3, while Dreps — the No. 1 player a year ago, recently back up to No. 2 — was a 10-7 winner. The remaining matches all went down to the wire with McFee and senior Lily Cota on the wrong end of 9-11 matchups, while Casey Lasater lost at No. 6 in a tiebreaker.

Park Hill had gone 2-1 in its first three Gold Division matchups, pending the result of a Tuesday, Sept. 5 trip to Lee’s Summit West. The Trojans have done all the work with a youthful squad looking to rebuild, starting with Markowitz and McFee playing in the top half of the lineup.

“They bring a lot of fire to each other,” Kalis said. “I think the nice thing is since they’re both younger I think having Elise that one year of experience under her belt so she brings knowledge from last season in and then Maisie brings her extensive knowledge from tournament play leading up to this point.”

William Chrisman Invitational

Platte County placed all three doubles teams in the top three during a trip Friday, Sept. 1 to Independence, Mo.

In their first tournament action of the season, the Pirates tied for first with Raymore-Peculiar in the eight-team field. Mikayla Landers and Jaycie Call were the B flight champions, while Grace Lewis and Brittany Alvarado advanced to the C flight title match and finished second.

Hannah Valentine and Crystal Billings — both juniors — placed third in A flight.

Platte County 8, Oak Park 1

Landers and Call scored an impressive 8-1 win at No. 2 in a doubles sweep for the Pirates to start a nonconference dual Thursday, Aug. 31 in Platte City.

Landers also had the biggest singles win (10-2 at No. 2) for Platte County, while Valentine (No. 1) and Billings (No. 3) were both 10-3 winners. The Pirates won a second straight to improve to 3-2 on the season entering a Tuesday, Sept. 5 trip to Kearney, Mo. for a Suburban Conference Blue Division matchup.

The result was not available at The Citizen’s deadline.

Park Hill South 8, Notre Dame de Sion 1

The Panthers finished a difficult three-day stretch unbeaten with a near shutout Wednesday, Aug. 30 in Kansas City, Mo.

Up 2-1 after doubles, Park Hill South swept the singles matchups with Eva Kresovic (No. 1) and Abby Norris (No. 2) both 8-0 winners. Claudia Chou won 8-1 at No. 6, while Chloe Norris (No. 3) and Leah Gehrke (No. 5) won 8-2 decisions.

Annie Saunders held on for a 9-8 tiebreaker win at No. 4 to finish off the dual for Park Hill South, which came in off of wins over 2016 Class 2 District 15 finalist St. Teresa Academy’s and defending Class 2 District 16 champion Liberty the previous two days. Notre Dame de Sion was a Class 2 District 13 finalist in 2016.

Rock Bridge 9, Park Hill 0

The Trojans were outmatched in a trip to Columbia, Mo. on Wednesday, Aug. 30 to play the three-time defending Class 2 state champions. Lasater went to a tiebreaker in her singles match but couldn’t hold on after coming back to win the second set set against Audry Milyo at No. 6 in the closes match.

Park Hill’s other five singles players combined to win six games, while Lasater lost 3-6, 6-4 (8-10)

Park Hill South 7, Liberty 2

Despite going 1-2 in doubles, the Panthers earned a Suburban Conference Red Division win in a matchup of 2016 district champions Tuesday, Aug. 29 at Park Hill High School in Riverside, Mo.

Saunders and Chou were 8-1 winners at No. 3 doubles for Park Hill South, which went on to sweep singles to pull away. Kresovic shut out Liberty’s Colby Kelly 8-0 at No. 1 in a matchup of returning singles state qualifiers.

Park Hill South defeated Liberty 5-3 last year in a Class 2 sectional matchup between the District 15 and District 16 champions.

Platte County 8, Winnetonka 1

The Pirates stopped a two-match skid with a Suburban Conference Blue Division victory Tuesday, Aug. 29 in Platte City.

A sweep of doubles included an 8-1 win for Lewis and Alvarado at No. 6. Valentine (No. 1), Billings (No. 3), Call (No. 4), Lewis (No. 5) and Alvarado (No. 6) were all singles winners for the Pirates, losing four games or less.

Alvarado recorded a 10-0 shutout.