Park Hill South freshman Eva Kresovic and Lafayette senior Caroline Pozo were playing on adjacent courts indoors at the Cooper Tennis Complex on Friday afternoon.
And both of their power games were on display as both players kept their perfect seasons intact. In fact, neither player has even lost a set this season.
Kresovic will get a chance to knock off Pozo, the two-time defending Missouri Class 2 singles champion in the Class 2 semifinals Saturday. Kresovic reached the state semis by defeating Brooke Smith of Springfield Glendale on Friday 6-0, 6-0 in the first round and Blue Springs sophomore Caitlyn Sporing 6-1, 6-3 in a quarterfinal match in which Kresovic trailed 3-1 in the second set.
“I thought I played pretty well today,” said Kresovic. “I got a little tight in the second set, but I regained my focus mentally and was able to finish it out.”
Kresovic admits she had a tough decision on whether to play high school tennis and consequently got a late start on getting in her required practices.
“I hated to miss my time with the Marchetti Academy,” Kresovic said. “But I am glad that I decided to play. It is a different experience, and I love playing for my high school.”
And she is looking forward to the chance to play Pozo, who finished second in state as a freshman at St. Joseph’s Academy and won state as a sophomore and junior at Lafayette. Pozo has not lost a set since losing in the championship match in 2013 to Tess Herder of Lee’s Summit.
“I saw her a little today, and she is an amazing player,” Kresovic said of Pozo, who has verbally committed to play at Northwestern University. “She has a tremendous forehand, so I need to play as smart as I can. I am excited to play against her.”
Excelsior Springs sophomore Emily Buck is simply excited to be playing at all on Saturday. Buck, who is the first state qualifier from Excelsior Springs since 2003, became the first player in school history to advance to the semifinals. Buck did so in Class 1 on Friday in exciting fashion as she defeated Grace Powderly of Cape Notre Dame in the first round and Abby West of St. Dominic in the quarterfinals. Both matches went three sets, and in each of them Buck had to come back after dropping the first set.
“I certainly don’t try to lose the first set,” Buck said. “But I tend to relax and play better after losing a set. I don’t take it as a negative.”
Buck has certainly exceeded any of her expectations coming into the state tournament.
“My goal was simply to make it to state,” Buck said. “Getting to the semifinals is crazy.”
Buck has a huge challenge in front of her, as she will play freshman Sami Remis of Class 1 team champion John Burroughs.
Barstow followed up its second-place finish to John Burroughs in the team tournament by advancing a singles player and doubles team to Saturday’s semifinals.
Barstow sophomore Hannah Tadros defeated Hally Piontek of Warrensburg and Courtney Potter of Logan-Rogersville in straight sets Friday. She will face the other John Burroughs fantastic freshman, Gaby Thornton in the Class 1 singles semifinals.
Defending Class 1 doubles champions Janie King and Amelia Smith will be decided favorites for Barstow in their semifinals match against Genna Miller and Maura Engelhorn of Incarnate Word Academy. King and Smith defeated Megan Oliver and Elizabeth Conley of Helias 8-4 in the opening round (an eight-game pro set was used for first round doubles because of an overnight storm) and followed with an impressive 6-2, 6-2 win over the top John Burroughs team of Sydney Lister and Maddy Duncan in the quarterfinals.
Liberty’s Alexandra Rogers and Riley Kelley had the upset of the day as they knocked off defending Class 2 doubles champions, Katarina Rosenberger and Alex Rosenberger of Lindbergh in the first round, 8-5. They followed with a 6-2, 6-2 win over Raegan Brown and Claire Conway of Springfield Kickapoo.
Rogers and Kelley will face Notre Dame de Sion’s Margo Gerke and Catherine Henne in the Class 2 semifinals. Gerke and Henne had a very difficult draw in a loaded Class 2 doubles field. They defeated Eleanor Fay and Corinne Farid of Columbia Rock Bridge 8-6 in the first round and knocked off a very talented team of Elena Wilner and Rebecca Davis of Parkway Central, 6-4, 6-2 in the quarterfinals.
Semifinal matches, in both singles and doubles in Class 1 and 2, are scheduled for Saturday at 9 a.m.. Championship matches are slated to begin at 1 p.m. for all classes.