De Soto tennis team dominates Olathe Northwest
When you consider that last season produced a shelf full of tennis hardware at De Soto, it's no disgrace that Wildcat tennis coach Michael Sullivan compares this year's team to that breakout season.
Although he said his squad was probably ahead of the pace it set as individuals a year ago, the team results remain pretty much a constant.
"I think that we're maybe better as individuals," he said. "But we're very similar to a year ago as far as how the team finishes at tournaments and at duals."
The Wildcats have been consistently good this season. In fact, adding up this year's individual records calculate to a 10-2 mark.
The combined team record was the same last Thursday in a dual with Olathe Northwest. Again the Wildcats lost a pair of matches in the singles division of the event but were a perfect 4-0 in doubles, winning the match 10-2.
"Overall we played pretty well," Sullivan said. "We were pretty good in singles and great in doubles, where we only lost a combined five games in four matches."
Just like in a dual last week against Mill Valley, Bianca Gonzalez and Alex Prosser lost the only matches of varsity play. But Sullivan said both players were showing signs of escaping their slumps.
Although the result was the same, the Wildcat coach said Gonzalez's match didn't mirror her performance against the Jaguars.
"She didn't play very well against Mill Valley," he said. "Bianca looked much better against Northwest. Her opponent (at No. 2 singles) was probably their No. 1 player. She was very good."
Gonzalez fell behind early in the match but rebounded and narrowed the gap. The battle was then nip and tuck the rest of the way as Gonzalez fell to Layne Anderson 7-5.
Prosser lost in singles competition against Mill Valley,and again Thursday. But Sullivan said she was showing signs of getting her form and confidence back.
"She looked much better," the coach said. "Alex has been in a rough spot the last few weeks. She just needs to get her confidence back."
Prosser battled Janelle Wehr to a competitive 7-5 tally. The rest of the singles matches wound up in De Soto's favor. Lauren Hampton (No. 1 singles) defeated Tess Stiles 7-0; Stacy Davis (No. 3 singles), knocked off Kelsey Neppel, 7-2; Rebekah Gulley (No. 5 singles) won over Emily Huston by a 7-3 margin. Katie Beck (No. 6 singles) did in Jenny Carlisle 7-1; Stephanie Hoover (No. 7 singles) and Emily Garza (No. 8 singles) both won 7-4 matches as they rolled over Northwest's Sarah Patterson and Elizabeth Varughese, respectively.
The Wildcat No. 1 doubles team composed of Davis and Gonzalez defeated the Ravens' Wehr and Neppen, 7-2. While Prosser and Hampton (No. 2 doubles) made short work of Anderson and Huston by a 7-0 count.
Gulley and Hoover (No. 3 doubles) knocked off Carlisle and Stiles by a 7-2 difference, while Beck and Garza (No. 4 doubles) beat Patterson and Varughese 7-1.
Sullivan was happy in getting the win over the bigger school, but warns that it could soon change.
"It is always nice to get a win against a bigger school," he said. "However, it is going to be harder to do so against a school like Olathe Northwest. They have a very young program with a lot of young players. They are going to get better and better each year."
De Soto will be in action again at 3 p.m. Sept. 23 in De Soto against Shawnee Mission West and Kansas City Christian.