South tennis comes up just short of state semifinals again

Park Hill South’s quest to reach the state semifinals will have to wait at least another year.

Lee’s Summit West prevailed 5-2 in a Class 2 quarterfinal Saturday, Oct. 7 in Liberty, Mo., ending Park Hill South’s season at 16-4. The Panthers were in the playoffs for an 11th straight year and advanced out of the first round for a second straight season but couldn’t earn the program’s first state trophy.

Lee’s Summit West won both meetings between the two teams this season.

Park Hill South endured a late season back injury to sophomore No. 1 Eva Kresovic, but her return for the postseason helped the Panthers to the District 15 team championship. In sectionals, they topped Blue Springs 5-2 with a sweep of doubles (Abby Norris and Annie Saunders at No. 1, Kresovic and Claudia Chou at No. 2 and Chloe Norris and Leah Gehrke at No. 3).

Chou and Gehrke won singles matches at the bottom of the lineup to lock up the win.

Park Hill South then faced Lee’s Summit West in a rematch of the Titans’ 5-4 victory in mid-September. Panthers coach Ian Cunliffe stuck with his shuffled doubles teams, but Kresovic and Chou were the lone winners at No. 2.

Kresovic then took a victory at No. 1 for Park Hill South in singles, but Lee’s Summit West finished off the next three wins to end the dual.

With the team season over, Kresovic continues play this weekend in the Class 2 Missouri State Tennis Championships singles bracket, scheduled to be released after The Citizen’s deadline. She advanced out of District 15 as the singles champion and won a Sectional 8 match against Platte County’s Hannah Valentine to earn a second straight trip to state.

Last season, Kresovic finished third as a freshman with her lone loss in the semifinals to Lafayette (Wildwood) senior Caroline Pozo, a three-time state champion and four-time finalist.