The opponent changed, but the idea remained the same.
Delayed a day, Platte County’s first ever home dual arrived Tuesday, Aug. 22, and the Pirates christened the new eight-court complex on campus with a 9-0 thumping of Grandview in Suburban Conference Blue Division competition. Originally, Lee’s Summit was scheduled to come to Platte County the previous day, but concerns over post-eclipse traffic caused the teams to reschedule.
Grandview provided a less-intimidating foe, and Platte County had no trouble assuring the new facility saw a victory in its first use.
“The overall goal all season is to get the win, but the first time is definitely a good time for you to win,” said Platte County senior Brittany Alvarado, playing No. 6 singles for the Pirates.
Technically, Platte County’s boys program opened the complex last spring, winning the regular season finale and losing a Class 2 District 16 semifinal in the first two home duals.
Prior to the win over Belton, coaches held a senior night for both the girls and boys programs to celebrate the long-awaited courts, funded through non-tax district funds, grants and a donations. Previously, the Pirates played all matches on the road and were never able to hold full practices on campus.
Platte County entered the season with just two returning starters in the lineup and Alvarado and Grace Lewis (No. 5 singles) the lone seniors in the top six.
“It’s really special,” Alvarado said. “I’ve been looking forward to it since the boys got the courts last season. I’ve been so excited for our first matches, especially with it being my senior year. I was so hyped. You can ask any of these girls. They are probably annoyed with me mentioning this is the first time this team has played at home.”
Platte County quickly swept the three doubles matches with No. 2 team Mikayla Landers and Jaycie Call losing three games. The Pirates won 8-0 at the other two spots.
The win was decisive coming off the best season in program history after the Pirates advanced to the Class 2 District 16 championship dual in 2016. Hannah Valentine, a junior, moved into the No. 1 spot after an undefeated singles season a year ago, while Landers took the No. 2 spot after playing No. 6 a year ago.
Valentine teamed with No. 3 Crystal Billings for an 8-0 sweep at No. 1 doubles, and Valentine quickly returned to the court for a 10-0 win over Karace Hawkins at No. 1 singles.
Platte County defeated Lee’s Summit 6-3 in last year’s season opener, and the two teams meet again Thursday, Aug. 24 in Platte City. Valentine will enter on a lengthy unbeaten streak in singles prepared to face a bigger challenge than she did in her No. 1 debut.
“I think this was good practice, a good way to start the season. I’m glad we won,” said Valentine, part of a doubles team that qualified for Class 2 sectional play a year ago. “I’m glad (Lee’s Summit) got rescheduled. This was good for our first (dual).”
Great 8 Tournament
Park Hill South went 2-1 during a trip to Columbia, Mo. over the weekend, making the championship in an elite field.
After a pair of wins on Friday, Aug. 18, Park Hill South lost 6-3 to host Rock Bridge in the championship dual Saturday, Aug. 19. The Bruins have won each of the past three Class 2 state titles.
Park Hill South posted wins against Fayetteville (Ark.) 6-3 and Pembroke Hill (5-4) to reach the final. Eva Kresovic (a third-place finisher in singles last year at Class 2 state), Chloe Norris and Claudia Chou all went 3-0 over the weekend in singles for the Panthers.