State power earns regional triumph

Sunday, September 14, 2003 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 7:10 a.m. CDT, Thursday, July 17, 2008

Rock Bridge showed it can dominate more than Missouri tennis.

The Bruins, the defending state champions, defeated Blue Valley North, the defending Kansas state champion, 8-1 on Friday. The Bruins also defeated Joplin 9-0 at Bethel Park as part of the Missouri-Kansas Border War.

Doubles play against Blue Valley North was at Wilson’s Tennis and Beach Club, where the Bruins (7-1) lost their only match, as the Mustangs’ Jennifer Cummings and Drew Padley defeated Stephanie Smarr and Whitney Reys, 6-3, 0-6, 13-11.

Blue Valley North (5-2), the defending state champion, played without three of its top six players.

“I think it would have made it more competitive, but I don’t know if it would have made a difference in the final score,” Rock Bridge coach Ben Loeb said.

The Bruins’ Ashley Miles said the second set in her 6-2, 6-3 win against senior Sarah Bishop was tougher than the score showed.

“Coach Loeb came out to talk to me after the first set and he told me to watch out,” Miles said. “All of the shots that she had missed before were going in. I was down 3-1 and then I started playing at 100 percent and won five in a row.”

Joplin and Rock Bridge met in October in a sectional match, and the Bruins defeated the Eagles 5-1. It is possible that the teams will meet again in the sectional match, Joplin coach Sean McWilliams said.

“I thought our girls played really well and ran into some tremendous competition against Rock Bridge,” McWilliams said.

The Bruins’ Kara Hickey led in singles with a 6-0, 6-0 victory against Ozark Conference champion Melissa Hoffmeister.

“It was a closer match than the score showed,” Hickey said. “We had a lot of good volleys and exchanges; it’s just the way the points came together.”

Joplin, Glendale and Kickapoo are the strongest teams in District 6, Loeb said.

“We haven’t played Kickapoo yet, and I thought they looked very good in the Great 8,” he said. “We still have to play Glendale on Oct. 1, that’ll be a tough match. We realize that we have to continue to get better if we want to be a true contender in the end.”

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