Maisie Markowitz built some confidence during a busy week.
Facing off with Platte County junior Hannah Valentine for the second time, Park Hill’s freshman No. 1 came away with a 10-4 win during a dual Monday, Sept. 11 in Platte City. Markowitz improved on the margin of victory from their first meeting three days earlier and led an 8-1 win for the Trojans.
“She knew going in it would be a long match, and I think mentally for her it was important for her to find that style and how to play someone that grinds like Hannah, who is a good athlete,” Park Hill coach Tim Kalis said. “I think you have to stay most importantly mentally tough and so for that I’m proud, especially being a freshman.”
Platte County’s Mikayla Landers and Jaycie Call fought for a 9-7 victory at No. 2 doubles against Lauren Steckelberg and Elise McFee, sending the Pirates into singles down 2-1.
Park Hill ended up with a sweep of the six matches, including a 10-0 shutout for Steckelberg over Call at No. 4 and Casey Laster’s 10-1 win over Brittany Alvarado at No. 6. Valentine’s loss at No. 1 was her second straight after an 8-6 defeat against Markowitz in the St. Joseph Central Invitational final the previous week.
Prior to the losses to Markowitz, Valentine had won 32 straight singles matches dating to her freshman season with her junior year her first playing at No. 1.
“I’ve had some tough matches but for the most part I’ve felt like I have kept my head up and kept pursuing what I want,” Valentine said. “As I play these more skilled players I need to definitely learn to put a little bit more pace on (the ball).”
Coming off a runnerup showing over the weekend at the dual format Liberty Invitational, Park Hill improved to 6-5 going into a rematch with Liberty scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 12. The result was not available at The Citizen’s deadline.
Liberty won a matchup between the two in the championship of its home tournament by a score of 8-1. With just one senior (Lily Cota) in the lineup, Park Hill wants to continue making improvements.
“It’s been a good year with these girls. It’s been nice meeting the new girls and kind of bossing them around a little bit in a good way, and I’m trying to leave them with good leaders,” said Cota, who won her No. 5 singles match against Platte County’s Grace Lewis by a score of 10-2. “I have a couple junior friends that will try to keep them going and keep them strong for the next couple years while I’m gone.”
Platte County dropped to 4-3 overall but took the opportunity to measure up against a larger school. In the eighth year of the program, the Pirates have started to up the schedule difficulty, including the matchups with programs like Park Hill.
“One thing I told the girls at the beginning was eight years ago we wouldn’t have even tried to play these guys because we wouldn’t have even belonged on the same court,” Platte County coach Zach Keith said. “There were competitive matches and I feel like our girls got better, and I feel like we pushed them and put some pressure on them at different spots so to me I was pretty encouraged to how the girls played today.”
Pembroke Hill 9, Park Hill South 0
The Panthers played without No. 1 sophomore Eva Kresovic and suffered just their second loss of the season Monday, Sept. 11 at Park Hill South High School in Riverside, Mo.
Chloe Norris and Claudia Chou both endured their first singles loss of the season while playing up in the lineup minus Park Hill South’s returning all-stater. Norris fought off six match points in a 9-7 loss at No. 2.
Park Hill South won the previous matchup between the two 5-4 with Kresovic in the lineup.
St. Joseph Central Invitational
Park Hill sent all four entries to the finals and came away with the team championship Friday, Sept. 8 in St. Joseph, Mo.
Markowitz advanced to the A singles final and held on for an 8-6 win over Valentine. Kansas Dreps took the B flight singles title to give the Trojans a sweep of those brackets.
Park Hill’s A singles team of Steckelberg and McFee and the B singles team of Cota and Lasater both finished as runners-up.
Platte County sent three of four entries into the championship half of the eight-entry brackets, highlighted with Valentine’s run to the A singles final. She beat Park Hill South’s Leah Gehrke in the semifinals before losing her first match since 2015.
In B singles, Call won her opener but finished fourth for Platte County. Alvarado and Lewis also ended up in the third place match for the Pirates but won 9-7 to take third.
Park Hill South didn’t bring its top three players, but the A doubles team of Annie Saunders and Claudia Chou took first place.
Park Hill South 9, Kearney 0
The Panthers were at full strength in a dominant showing Thursday, Sept. 7 in Kearney, Mo.
Kresovic, Abby Norris, Chloe Norris and Gehrke all recorded 10-0 shutout in singles play for Park Hill South, while Kresovic and Chou were 8-0 winners at No. 2 doubles. Abby Norris and Annie Saunders (No. 1) and Chloe Norris and Gehrke (No. 3) took 8-1 victories in doubles.
Park Hill 7, Raymore-Peculiar 2
The Trojans improved to 3-2 in Suburban Conference Gold Division play, narrowly missing a sweep of both doubles and singles.
Markowitz and McFee lost in a tiebreaker at No. 1 doubles, but Steckelberg/Dreps (8-3) and Cota/Lauren Miller (8-2) were easy winners at Nos. 2 and 3. Markowitz and McFee won in the top two singles spots, while Steckelberg posted a 10-0 shutout.
Park Hill is scheduled to finish Gold Division play Tuesday, Sept. 19 against Blue Springs.
Park Hill South 8, Lee’s Summit North 1
The Panthers broke from their traditional lineup for a second straight match in a win Wednesday, Sept. 6 in Lee’s Summit, Mo.
Kresovic played only doubles and paired with Chou at No. 2 for Park Hill South, which swept doubles. Abby Norris and Chloe Norris played in the top two spots with the latter an 8-0 winner at No. 2, and Julia Stephens was at No. 6 for the Panthers, holding on for an 8-6 victory.
The only Class 2 school in the field, Platte County came away with both flight champions Wednesday, Sept. 6 in Cameron, Mo.
Valentine went 4-0 to claim the singles title, while Crystal Billings and Landers swept their way to the doubles championship. The Pirates won both flight titles for the second straight year.
With only one bracket, Platte County’s Call went 4-1 and finished fifth with her lone loss to the eventual runner-up in singles. Platte County’s Alvarado and Lewis also went 4-1 in doubles with the only loss to the eventual runnerup.
Platte County 8, Kearney 1
The Pirates won a third straight dual by the same score in a key Suburban Conference Blue Division matchup Tuesday, Sept. 5 in Kearney, Mo.
Valentine and Billings won a tiebreaker at No. 1 doubles to help Platte County take a 3-0 lead. Each of the top five singles players were also winners with Valentine (No. 1) and Billings (No. 3) both taking their matches by a score of 10-2.
Park Hill South 9, St. Joseph Central 0
The Panthers switched up their doubles teams and gave Kresovic a rest from singles play in a Red Division shutout Tuesday, Sept. 5 in St. Joseph, Mo.
Chloe Norris and Gehrke earned a shutout at No. 3 doubles, while Nicki Matthews made her season debut with an 8-0 win at No. 6 singles. Abby Norris (8-2 winner) and Chloe Norris (8-1 winner) played at No. 1 and No. 2.
Lee’s Summit West 7, Park Hill 2
The Trojans won a pair of singles matches but couldn’t match up with last year’s Class 2 state runnerup in a Gold Division match Tuesday, Sept. 5 in Lee’s Summit, Mo.
After being swept in doubles, Park Hill came back with wins for McFee at No. 3 and Lasater at No. 6 — both by scores of 8-3. Markowitz lost 8-6 at No. 1 in the Trojans next closest match.