MHS netters need major comeback

By Steve Sell
October 17, 2014
Kendall Shaw

WINFIELD — A Class 4A state championship repeat doesn’t appear to be in the cards for the McPherson High girls tennis team unless there’s a perfect storm of occurences for the Bullpups.

MHS, ranked No. 1 in the state the entire season, is still mathematically alive, according to coach Tyler Brown, but his team is going to need a lot of help while taking care of its own business.

“Independence (which is ranked No. 2) would have to fall apart to not win it at this point,” Brown said Friday after the Bullpups encountered some unexpected bumps in the road. “But I guess you never know. We’re still mathematically in it, but it doesn’t look good.”

There was, however, some good news. Defending 4A state doubles champions Emily Ediger and Camry Holle are one victory away from getting a chance to repeat. After finishing second in last week’s regional, they returned to their 2013 form, including a 6-0, 6-0 rout of Independence’s Kalei and Shaeli Matthews to make the Final Four.

Saturday morning in the semifinals, they are matched against Winfield’s Victoria Lybarger and Jenna Groene, who defeated MHS’ Madison Hoffman and Rachel Ivers 6-3, 6-3 in the quarterfinals. Hoffman and Ivers could still come back and finish as high as fifth.

Buhler’s Jessica Steffen and Kendra Nachtigal face Cinderella story Caryington Julian and Anna Miller of Independence, who are actually the Bulldogs’ No. 2 team, in the other semi. Steffen and Nachtigal are heavy favorites to win that match. 

If Ediger and Holle win, there’s a good chance it will be a repeat of last week’s regional final. Ediger and Holle do own a couple of wins over the Buhler duo in the past.

The Bullpups aren’t going to score the singles points they had hoped for. Ellea Ediger, the 2013 state runner-up, missed the semifinals after losing 6-4, 6-2 to Mary Kate Reilly of Miege. She can still finish fifth.

Katelyn Reifschneider, who was sixth in the state last year, dropped both of her matches to make a first-day exit.

Newcomers Sayaka Smith of Coffeyville and Sophie Robertson of Baldwin, both of whom are undefeated, are on track to make the finals. Smith plays Reilly, while Robertson goes up against defending champion Abbi Groff of Independence.