McPherson High girls tennis coach Tyler Brown admitted his team’s confidence was somewhat shaken by its season opener last week at Hesston.
The Bullpups had entered the meet with a preseason No. 1 state ranking in Class 4A, but were knocked off by 3A school Hesston, albeit the Swathers are ranked No. 2.
Brown was curious to see how his team, which achieved its lofty ranking more for what it did last year, would respond in its home tournament on Thursday.
The Bullpups, with Ellea Ediger winning the singles division, and Cassidy Corrigan and Maisie Edmonson winning the doubles division, scored 73 points to outlast 6A power Derby, which scored 67.
Valley Center was third with 54, while Goddard Eisenhower rounded out the upper half with 50. Other scores were Newton (39), Great Bend (38), Wichita West (11) and Douglass (9).
“Neither one of them (Ediger and the doubles team) were seeded No. 1,” Brown said. “I thought we had a chance to win. It’s growing pains at this point. We have four girls who have not played at the varsity meets. They’re learning to win and that’s awesome.”
Corrigan and Edmonson, both lefties, were a No. 3 seed going in, but charged to the top and knocked off Derby’s top-seeded team of Mackenzie Hughes and Isabella Smith 8-4 in the finals. It was close early, but Corrigan and Edmonson gradually pulled away.
“I knew they had it in them, it was just a matter of time,” Brown said. “But that is not to say they don't have the talent. I keep telling them to think something positive when they strike or hit the ball.”
The singles final was a monster matchup. Ediger, who has a second- and fifth-place finish at state in her two years, was matched against Great Bend’s Macy Moyers, who has been a state placer in the past in doubles. They spent most of the match trading powerful ground strokes.
“Macy Moyers is a terrific player,” Brown said. “For her (Ediger) to beat a player like that will help her confidence.”
Ediger and Moyers went back and forth and a tiebreaker was inevitable as they were deadlocked in regulation at 7-7. Moyers won the first point, but Ediger reeled off five in a row and wound up winning, 7-4.
Rachel Ivers was fourth in singles, having to default her third-place match due to injury. Brown said the points she earned were huge toward the team title.
“Rachel did exactly what she needed to,” Brown said. “She has been a workhorse, doing exactly what we have asked of her. She has been playing really well. She breezed through to the semifinals, then hit a bump in the road physically and eventually had to retire after her semifinal. She is one of our best hands down. I just hope she can stay healthy and be ready for regionals and state.”
The other doubles team of Heidi Myers and Shelby Gudenkauf rallied to take ninth place, going 3-1. Brown said he liked how that duo bounced back and played better as the day went along.
“My Cardiac Kids,” Brown said. “They start every tournament off a little slow, but find a way to get themselves back into matches. Even if they happen to lose a match they seem to make their way through the back draw and finish on a high note. Once they relax to start the tournament I think you will start to see a huge improvement in both of their games.”