Platte County didn’t end up with the picturesque sunny day envisioned, but after all the waiting, any home match would do.
Playing on the recently completed eight-court facility on campus for the first time, Platte County swept Belton 9-0 in a brisk Suburban Conference Blue Division matchup Tuesday, April 25. The project experienced a handful of delays, making players and coaches grateful to get at least one home dual in this season on a cloudy, windy afternoon in front of dozens of spectators.
“After the wait for the courts, it was 70 and sunny in between the lines. It was beautiful,” said Platte County senior No. 1 Spencer Kunz, one of seven seniors on this year’s roster.
Prior to the dual, the school held a small ribbon-cutting, allowing players from the boys and girls programs to lead the festivities. Kunz addressed the crowd and thanked all of those who helped make the long-discussed project a reality.
Afterward, the seven seniors — Kunz, Payton Anderson, Jack Lawver, Burt Stinnett, Braden Rowe, Donovan Douglas and Brayden Percival — were given the first senior night in Platte County tennis history. The seniors from the girls teams — Rachel Valentine, Stephanie Laures, Madalyn Ivy, Lauren Laderoute and Sage McGehee — were also introduced and honored for helping lead the Pirates to four straight Blue Division titles during a record-setting tenure.
The tennis court project became a priority last summer after the district announced plans to demolish the two dilapidated courts located on campus to make way for a new parking lot.
Platte County’s tennis program went a decade without any true home facility and split practices between private facilities and the two courts on campus. With those gone and options limited, the district announced plans last spring to fund four courts on campus with the intention to build four more as money became available.
The Platte County Tennis Court Committee, a grassroots group committed to expanding the project, approached the board of education about concerns. Eventually, private donations, grants and donated labor and materials were combined with district funds and a contribution from the Platte City Parks and Recreation board were combined to fund the full project.
Originally, district officials hoped to have at least four courts complete and surfaced by the end of the fall. Delays in completing the work coupled with weather issues in the spring nearly pushed the timeline beyond this season.
Just recently opened, Platte County’s team had just one practice at the new facility before Tuesday’s dual with Belton.
The courts didn’t receive much work in the opener.
With four of the seven seniors in the lineup, Platte County swept all three of the early doubles matches with 8-0 wins for Kunz and junior Spencer Klopfer (No. 1), sophomore Noah Singer and Percival (No. 2) and Anderson and Lawver (No. 3). Platte County dropped just one game in the six singles matches with 8-0 wins for Kunz (No. 1), Singer (No. 2), Klopfer (No. 3), Percival (No. 4) and Anderson (No. 6).
Lawver was an 8-1 winner at No. 6.
“It already feels like home,” Anderson said. “I’m very proud to say we have home courts and proud to say these are ours. It was good to start with a win, and hopefully, we get many more on these courts.”
Platte County (9-2, 3-1 Blue Division) was scheduled to play a rescheduled nonconference dual at Staley on Wednesday, April 26 before a lengthy break ahead of postseason play. The Pirates could draw the No. 2 seed in Class 2 District 16, which would mark a program best, with the chance to host a team semifinal.
Brackets will be released at a later date.
Platte County 8, William Chrisman 1
The Pirates swept a nonconference matchup Thursday, April 20 in Independence, Mo.
Kunz lost at No. 1, but Platte County dominated each of the remaining matchups, including a sweep of doubles. The Pirates won a second straight after suffering a loss earlier in the week to Kearney.
Platte County 5, North Kansas City 4
Starting the break from conference play, the Pirates won five of six singles matches to steal a win Wednesday, April 19 in North Kansas City, Mo.
Platte County entered off of a tough loss to Kearney in Blue Division play the day before and immediately bell behind 3-0 against the Hornets, who won all three doubles matches. Singer and Klopfer pulled the Pirates within 3-2, but a loss at No. 1 left them needing to win three straight.
Percival (No. 4), Anderson (No. 5) and Lawver (No. 6) pulled the sweep in the bottom half of the lineup for the win.
Kearney 5, Platte County 4
The Pirates’ unbeaten start to the season came to an end in a dual Tuesday, April 18 in Kearney, Mo.
Kearney took a big step toward winning the Blue Division title, taking two of three doubles matches before a split of six singles matches. Singer and Percival won 8-3 at No. 2 doubles for the Pirates, while Singer, Klopfer and Percival won singles matches.
Anderson lost the dual’s final match 11-10 (7-1) in a difficult tiebreaker.