The Chillicothe Tennis Team hosted the Class 1, Sectional 8 matches at Danner Park on Monday morning. Chillicothe claimed its first dual of the morning over Excelsior Springs 5-3. A few minutes later, Savannah squeaked out a win 5-4 over Lafayette County (Higginsville). Chillicothe won its match with a Doubles’ win by Washburn & Garr as well as Singles’ wins from Washburn, Garr, BeVelle, and Kieffer each in two straight sets.
The two teams moved on to the Sectional Semi-Final (also known as the MSHSAA Quarterfinals). In Doubles play, Chillicothe’s Kieffer and Crowe fell quickly in their No. 3 Doubles match 2-8. Lady Hornets Carpenter and BeVelle also dropped their No. 1 Doubles match 1-8. In No. 2 Doubles, Garr and Washburn battled through a long, even match to finally come away with an important 8-6 win.
In singles play, Savannah’s returning No. 1 player, an individual State medalist last year, took down Carpenter in straight sets. This put the Lady Hornets down 1-3 as a team with two other matches already down a set and headed toward a loss, which would have given Savannah enough points to finish the Dual.
In the meantime, Washburn worked to win her No. 2 Singles match in straight sets, moving the team back to 2-3. Then, in a stunning half hour of tennis, Chillicothe’s remaining four varsity Singles players mounted stunning comebacks. After dropping their first sets and starting slow again in their second sets, No. 5 Madison Kieffer and No. 6 Micah Crowe chipped away at their opponents’ leads until suddenly they had both won the second set. This sent both matches into sudden death, third-set match tiebreaks within only three minutes of each other.
Kieffer pulled off her win with a final 10-7 tie break score, and just minutes later, Crowe did the same with a 10-8 tiebreak win. Those two matches proved pivotal in the team’s eventual win.
Down the court, Garr and BeVelle had both won tough first sets, were battling through their second sets, and had no clue that their matches would decide the team’s State journey. Calmly, BeVelle closed out her second set with an unknown State-qualifying match point, after which she was promptly bombarded with teammates screaming, cheering, and jumping all over her. Garr did not have to finish her final set as the team won the Quarterfinals 5-3.
The Lady Hornets will play in the MSHSAA Final Four on Friday, October 21 at Noon and again for either the championship or consolation on Saturday, October 22 at Noon, both days at Cooper Tennis Complex in Springfield, MO.
Carpenter, Washburn, and Garr will all go compete in Individual State Tournament play this Friday and Saturday in Singles and Doubles respectively.