Pictured in front are Kennett seniors Anna Kay Hilburn (left) and Kate White (right). Pictured behind the fence are underclassmen on the Kennett girls tennis team. Hilburn and White were recognized before the start of Wednesday's tennis match against Caruthersville. It was Hilburn and White's final home regular-season contest.
Signs with messages such as 'we love our seniors Anna Kay and Kate' were taped to fences surrounding the tennis courts.
Two cookie cakes decorated to look like tennis balls also awaited the seniors following the match.
A third surprise pertained to the match itself.
Hilburn and White were paired to play doubles together for the first time in their high school tennis careers.
"We had never done that before," Hilburn said. "It was a lot of fun. We did not know that was going to happen. It was a great moment getting to play doubles with your fellow senior and we obviously did really well."
Hilburn and White had little trouble adjusting to the new pairing. The lone seniors on the Kennett tennis team cruised to an 8-0 win in doubles action against Caruthersville's Flora Ibarra and Brittany Travis.
Hilburn also calculated an 8-0 win in her singles match against Ibarra. White won her singles match against Alexa Hays 8-2.
Kennett's underclassmen experienced similar success in their respective matches as the Lady Indians cruised to a 6-0 team win in varsity action and 7-0 team win in junior varsity play.
"The girls have contributed all year to our wins," Kennett coach Janet Hilburn said of the seniors. "They have been an instrumental part of our success."
Both seniors offered thoughts on playing their final home regular-season tennis match following Wednesday's wins.
"It's bitter sweet," Hilburn said. "We are very happy to be moving on with a new chapter in our lives at college, but we are also sad it's the last high school tennis season we will ever have.
"It's definitely bitter sweet," White added. "It's sad knowing I won't be back next year to play, but I'm excited with the success we've had this season."
Kennett's varsity record stands at 11-1 following Wednesday's win. Kennett, which has won its last 11 games, will play at Sikeston in its final regular-season match Thursday.
"They've got a lot to live up to next year and I love my coach," White said. "She's the best.
Anna Kay Hilburn added: "The underclassmen need to keep working hard next season. This is a winning program. People need to realize that and come out and support the Lady Indians tennis team."
Kennett is once again favored to advance deep into the playoffs this season.
Kennett has received the No. 1 seed in its Class 1 team district tournament. Kennett currently has 9-0 record against teams in its district tournament and has won its district tournament the last five seasons.
"We got the No. 1 seed after beating Dexter Monday," coach Hilburn said. "I was very pleased. We've got a tough road next week against the winner of Sikeston and Caruthersville. I'm hoping we are peaking at the right time and we come out of it with a title."
The district tournament will take place Oct. 1-3. The higher seed will host head-to-head matchups. Kennett school officials said Kennett's district team matches will begin at 4 p.m. each day.
View a complete schedule for the district tournament below:
Quarterfinals (Oct. 1):
Game 1: No. 5 Caruthersville at No. 4 Sikeston
Game 2: No. 6 Charleston at No. 3 Dexter
Semifinals (Oct. 2):
Game 3: Sikeston-Caruthersville winner at No. 1 Kennett
Game 4: Dexter-Charleston winner at No. 2 Notre Dame
Championship (Oct. 3):
Game 5: Game 3 Winner vs. Game 4 Winner at higher seed
View complete results from the Kennett-Caruthersville match below:
Anna Kay Hilburn (K) def. Flora Ibarra 8-0
Darby Sparks (K) def. Brittany Travis 8-0
Kate White (K) def. Alexa Hays 8-2
Kelsey Washburn (K) def. Hannah Bishop 8-0
Hilburn-White (K) def. Ibarra-Travis 8-0
Alexa McPherson-Kara Heeb (K) def. Hays-Bishop 8-1
JUNIOR VARSITY SINGLES
Taylor Decker (K) def. Chara Moore 6-2
Maddie Wood (K) def. Abigail Tarpley 6-0
Alli Mowrer (K) def. Emily Rickman 6-0
Karah Brandt (K) def. Whitley McClain 6-0
Anna Brooks (K) def. Jermesha Hollywood 6-0
JUNIOR VARSITY DOUBLES
Decker-Wood (K) def. Moore-Tarpley 6-2
Sydney Davis-Carissa Oliver (K) def. Rickman-Whitley 6-2