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Kennett girls tennis team advances to district championship, beats Sikeston 5-0

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Staff Photo by Dustin Ward
Kennett's Kelsey Washburn charges toward a ball. [Order this photo]
KENNETT, Mo. - The Kennett varsity girls tennis team moved one step closer to its sixth straight district championship Tuesday afternoon when it collected a 5-0 win against Sikeston in a Class 1 district semifinal contest.

The contest lasted over an hour even though a third set was not necessary to determine a winner in any of the singles matches completed.

"They are very, very consistent," Kennett senior starter Kate White said of the long rallies that took place in the Sikeston match. "They always get the ball back. You have to keep the ball in play and wait for them to mess up."

The format of team head-to-head matches is different in the state playoffs than in regular-season play.

"You play best two out of three sets," Kennett's Kelsey Washburn said of the playoff format. "You play to six each set with no add. When you are playing no add the player that wins the rally following deuce takes the point."

Kennett's Kara Heeb was the first player to win a singles match. Heeb beat Emma Ferrell 6-0, 6-0.

"I was just happy to help the team," Heeb said of the quick win. "I'm glad I could get the job done to help us go deeper into the playoffs."

Washburn was the second player to finish her singles match. Washburn won her singles match against Geena Hooper 6-1, 6-0.

"I hit good shots down the lines today," Washburn said. "That helped me out a great deal."

Kennett's Darby Sparks defeated Martha Neel 6-2, 6-2; Kennett's Kate White beat Jordan Powell 6-2, 6-3; and Kennett's Alexa McPherson defeated Ali Price 6-1, 6-1.

"It's a little different," McPherson said of playing postseason tennis. "There is a lot of competition. That's for sure."

Anna Kay Hilburn took on Kelsey Dial in the sixth singles match against Sikeston. Dial won the first set. The match was retired before the second set was completed because Kennett had already obtained five out of a possible nine points by winning the first five singles matches.

Doubles were not necessary since Kennett won five of the six singles matches.

Notre Dame defeated Dexter 5-4 in the other Class 1 semifinal Tuesday. Kennett (16-1) will host Notre Dame Wednesday at 4 p.m. in the district championship. Kennett has a 3-0 record against Notre Dame this season.

"Dexter and Notre Dame are both pretty tough," White said following Tuesday's win. "I guarantee we will have to play doubles against them, but I'm looking forward to it."

View complete results from the Kennett-Sikeston match below:

Staff Photo by Dustin Ward
Kennett's Anna Kay Hilburn reaches for a ball. [Order this photo]

Anna Kay Hilburn (K) vs. Kelsey Dial, retired

Darby Sparks (K) def. Martha Neel 6-2, 6-2

Kate White (K) def. Jordan Powell 6-2, 6-3

Kelsey Washburn (K) def. Geena Hooper 6-1, 6-0

Kara Heeb (K) def. Emma Ferrell 6-0, 6-0

Alexa McPherson (K) def. Ali Price 6-1, 6-1


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