For the first time in a half-century, the Kansas City Christian girls tennis program is coming home with a trophy from the state tournament.
Behind third-place finishes from freshman Lilly McNeill in singles and the tandem of Molly McNeill and Anna Vialle in doubles, KC Christian scored 35 points to win the runner-up trophy at the Class 3-1A Kansas tournament on Saturday at Wichita’s Riverside Tennis Center.
Wichita Independent won the team championship with 37 points, powered by the dominance of senior Anna Riedmiller, who won her third singles title of her career.
“We’ve been a school for 61 years and apart of KSHSAA for about 50 years, so the girls are really proud of themselves for being the first ones to do this,” KC Christian coach Brian Miller said.
Lilly McNeill suffered her first loss of the season in heart-wrenching fashion in the semifinals, losing to Hesston’s Morgan Holopirek 7-6 (7-4), 7-6 (7-2). She rebounded to defeat Sterling’s Madison Thrasher in straight sets to win third place and finish the season with a 25-1 record.
“I just said, ‘I’m not losing this again,’” McNeill said. “I really wanted to win. I think it was my competitiveness that set me apart there.”
Molly McNeil and Vialle also lost in the semifinals, only to finish strong with a 6-2, 6-4 victory over the Conway Springs duo of Samantha Koch and Erica Ebenkamp for third place. McNeill and Vialle finished 21-2.
“We played really good,” Molly McNeill said. “We had a really good season together and then this just pulled it all together.”
Ryan Jantsch and the doubles team of Alexis Termini and Callie Eldred also scored points for KC Christian.