The last five times Raymore-Peculiar and Lee’s Summit West squared off in tennis, the outcome came down to one match, with the Titans winning each time. When the two met Tuesday in the semifinals of the Class 2 District 13 team tournament, the Panthers came up short again.
Ray-Pec’s season ended with a 5-3 loss to the Titans at Lee’s Summit West. The Panthers took two of three doubles matches, but a lack of success in singles proved too much to overcome.
“We’ve been nipping at their heels for a little while,” Ray-Pec tennis coach Derek Howard said. “We just haven’t been able to get over the top on them.”
Ray-Pec’s doubles domination included an 8-4 victory by Gavin Cummons and Shawn McDonald in the No. 2 match and another 8-4 win from Logan Daniels and Kobe Bennett at No. 3. Riley Wagner and Chad McElfresh came close to making it sweep by taking Colton Hess and Jake Brady to a tiebreaker in the No. 1 match before falling 8-7 (7-3).
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But Wagner would pick up the only Ray-Pec victory in singles, downing Kyle Gerdes 8-4 at No. 2. Cummons lost to Hess 8-1 at No. 1 singles, Daniels fell to Clayton Emma 8-2 at No. 4, Bennett lost to Conner Berens 8-4 at No. 5 and McDonald got beat by Seth Keep 8-6 at No. 6. Lee’s Summit West clinched the victory before the No. 3 singles match ended.
It was a different outcome, especially in singles, from the last time Ray-Pec played West, Howard said. In that 5-4 loss last week, Gerdes easily beat Wagner and the Panthers got wins from the lower end of their singles order. Howard thought that would happen again Tuesday.
“Today was strange in that different guys lost and different guys won compared to the match we played a week ago,” Howard said. “You look at your lineup and you think we’re going to get a win at three, a win at six, and it kind of went on its tail today.”
Ray-Pec, which reached the semifinals with a 5-0 win over Ruskin Monday in the first round, ended its season 7-8. The Panthers dropped all six of their Suburban Gold Conference duals, but they did place second in three tournaments. With a junior-heavy lineup, Howard expects his team to be much improved next season.
Improved enough to give Lee’s Summit West another run.
“I think we far exceeded our expectations for this year,” Howard said.
Belton opened district play with a 5-0 victory over Grandview in the first round, but the Pirates’ season ended Tuesday with a 5-0 loss to Rockhurst. Belton finished with a 3-7 record.