Missouri state boys tennis: Five things to watch

05/28/2014 7:52 PM

06/03/2014 10:17 AM

1. Rock vs. Rock Bridge. The highly anticipated championship rematch between Rockhurst and Columbia Rock Bridge will take place one round earlier this season. The two teams are set to meet in the Missouri Class 2 semifinals at 9 a.m. Thursday, with the winner advancing to the championship match later that afternoon. St. Louis area schools Parkway Central and Christian Brothers College will meet in the other semifinal. Seeking a championship repeat, Rockhurst, 14-2, has not lost to an in-state opponent this season, and it has shut out every playoff foe. All six players in the Hawklets’ lineup also qualified for the individual state tournaments. Top singles player Alex Koca and teammate Patrick Michaelis qualified for the singles tournament. Jack Evans and Joseph O’Connor are one twosome in the doubles tournament, as well as the defending champion doubles team of John Nogalski and Jacob Moore.

2. Just win Raiders. Pembroke Hill saw its run of four consecutive Missouri Class 1 state championships come to an end last season, but the Raiders are back in the hunt this year. They will meet unbeaten Warrensburg in a semifinal match at 9 a.m. Thursday. St. Louis schools John Burroughs and Mary Institute/Country Day School (MICDS) will meet in the other semifinal. The winners will play for the state title Thursday afternoon. The full Pembroke Hill lineup will participate in the Class 1 singles and doubles tournaments. March Zheng and Cormac Chester will take part in the singles tournament. Tristan Threatt and Sam Kramer solidified a spot in the doubles tournament, as did Noah Bortnick and Josh Bortnick.

3. Titans know the drill. Lee’s Summit West fell short in its bid for a spot for its full team in the Class 2 state tournament, but the season marches on for the Titans’ top doubles team. Franklin Zhong and Aaron Cunningham have qualified for the Class 2 doubles tournament for the second straight season. They reached the second round last season before losing to Park Hill South’s Zack Royle and James Geary, who eventually took second place. Lee’s Summit West’s Tanner Ferrell is back in the Class 2 state singles tournament for the second straight season. Ferrell was unbeaten while playing the third spot in the Titans’ lineup this season.

4. Can Barstow make a bid? The Barstow School’s hopes for a team title ended in the Class 1 quarterfinals with a 5-1 defeat by Pembroke Hill last week. But the Knights will still be represented at the state tournament. Steven Ketchmark and Ben Abbas cruised to the Class 1, Sectional 7 doubles title last week to qualify for the state doubles meet. The duo has lost only three times this season. And top singles player Fletcher Scott won his Class 1 sectional semifinal match in straight sets to qualify for the state tournament.

5. More KC area qualifiers. Grain Valley’s team of Cody Zeigler and James Eubank will play in the Class 1 doubles tournament after winning a three-set thriller against Excelsior Springs’ Austin Buck and Kyle Smith in the Class 1, Sectional 7 tournament. Lee’s Summit’s Kevin Glenn and Justin Bowne have qualified for the Class 2 doubles tournament. Blue Springs South’s Paul Province will play in the Class 2 singles tournament.

To reach Sam McDowell, send email to smcdowell@kcstar.com. Follow him at twitter.com/SamMcDowell11.

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