Platte County tennis ousted in district semi; Park Hill playing for title

Platte County players and coaches wanted at least one doubles victory this time around.

Spencer Kunz and Spencer Klopfer provided the desired result, but the benefits of the early victory never materialized. North Kansas City avenged a prior loss to the Pirates with a 5-1 decision in a Class 2 District 16 semifinal Tuesday, May 9 at Platte County High School’s new tennis facility.

ROSS MARTIN/Citizen photo Platte County senior Spencer Kunz hits a serve with the famous Platte City water tower in the background of the school’s new home facility during a doubles match in a Class 2 District 16 semifinal with North Kansas City on Tuesday, May 9.

ROSS MARTIN/Citizen photo
Platte County senior Spencer Kunz hits a serve with the famous Platte City water tower in the background of the school’s new home facility during a doubles match in a Class 2 District 16 semifinal with North Kansas City on Tuesday, May 9.

Last time around, Platte County recovered from a doubles sweep to win five singles matches and take a 5-4 victory — the only loss of the season for North Kansas City entering the District 16 championship, scheduled for Wednesday, May 10 at Barry Park in Kansas City, Mo. against Park Hill.

“We just wanted to start off quickly and have a good quick start and play well against them,” said Kunz, one of four seniors in the lineup along with Jack Lawver, Brayden Percival and Payton Anderson. “I think we did that. It felt good, like a step in a positive direction.”

Playing the first home postseason match in program history and just the second overall, Platte County’s season came to a disappointing finish. The Pirates ended up 12-4 overall after earning the No. 2 seed in districts — their best ever postseason ranking.

Platte County received a first round bye in the tournament before facing the rematch with North Kansas City.

Playing doubles first, Kunz and Klopfer went ahead 4-1 only to have the match tied up at 5-5. The Pirates’ No. 1 team then won the final three games to score what seemed an important 8-5 victory with North Kansas City taking a 2-1 lead into singles.

Lawver (No. 6) and junior Noah Singer (No. 2) were the only Platte County players to win the first set of a singles match. Those would be the final set victories for the Pirates, who lost in straight sets at No. 1, No. 4 and No. 5.

The dual ended at that point, a stark reversal from Platte County’s comeback effort against the Hornets earlier in the season.

“That’s a lot of motivation for North Kansas City coming in,” said Klopfer, the only junior in the top six. “I just think they came out firing. We were battling. Most of the sets were really close, but they were able to get a point here, a point there.”

The season continues for Platte County in the Class 2 District 16 individual tournament, scheduled for Saturday, May 13 at Barry Park in Kansas City, Mo. 

Park Hill (15-4) earned its spot in the Class 2 District 16 team championship match with a 5-0 win over St. Joseph Central on Tuesday. Chandler To and Matt Zhang finished off the sweep with 6-0, 6-0 singles victories.

Central reached the semifinals with a 5-4 victory over Park Hill South, which finished its season at 2-11.

ROSS MARTIN/Citizen photo Platte County junior Spencer Klopfer watches a return shot during a doubles match in a Class 2 District 16 semifinal with North Kansas City on Tuesday, May 9.

ROSS MARTIN/Citizen photo
Platte County junior Spencer Klopfer watches a return shot during a doubles match in a Class 2 District 16 semifinal with North Kansas City on Tuesday, May 9.

Suburban North Tournament

Park Hill took three of four individual flight championships and won the team title Saturday, May 6 at North Kansas City District Activities Complex. In the seven team field, the Trojans totaled 58 points and came in 10 ahead of runner-up Truman.

In the regular season finale for the teams, Park Hill advanced all four entries to semifinals, including three finalists.

To dominated the B singles flight with three straight 10-0 wins to take the title. The Trojans’ two doubles teams were challenged more but were top-seeded, earned a first round bye and won two matches for a sweep of those brackets.

Park Hill’s Jake McFee and Grant Martin were the A entry and beat Truman’s Chris Fielder and Billy Wiser 10-6. The title match was a 10-6 win against Kearney’s Cameron Crockett and Noah Keys. Ryan Decker and Zhang — the Trojans’ B doubles entry — won 10-7 over Staley’s Nick Peterson and Luke Othic in the semifinals then rolled past St. Joseph Central’s Cade Alden and Joseph Bui, 10-2.

Cooper Hayes, Park Hill’s sophomore No. 1, played in A singles and lost 10-1 in a semifinal to top-seeded Carson Gates of Staley. Gates went on to win the title, while Hayes wound up fourth with a 2-2 record, losing to St. Joseph Central’s Cole Hopkins in the consolation final.