Wildcats sweep own invitational
If the Wildcat Invitational tennis tournament is any indication as to what lies ahead, De Soto is peaking at the right time.
All players scored points for the Wildcats at the invitational as De Soto won its own tournament for the second-straight year and caused De Soto tennis coach Michael Sullivan to sing their praises.
"All of our events showed signs of playing their best tennis so far this year," the coach said. "We're hoping we can take it into regionals and go on a run there. We're peaking at No. 1 singles right now. At No. 2 singles and our No. 1 doubles team are peaking as well."
Leavenworth's Natalie Harper was able to get her fill of De Soto Wildcat green over the weekend. The Pioneer singles player went 1-1 against De Soto.
Wildcat No. 1 singles player Lauren Hampton ended Harper's run to the championship with an 8-2 win. Harper clinched a berth in the final by a dispatching of De Soto No. 2 singles player Alex Prosser, who lost to Bonner Springs' Kim Stephens by an 8-0 count in the third-place match.
"Lauren and the girl from Leavenworth played quite a match in the championship," Sullivan said. "They played deuce after deuce and really battled each other.
"Alex played a tough match against her. And she beat Mill Valley's No. 1 singles player earlier in the tournament. She is getting her confidence back and really had a nice, nice tournament."
Hampton did struggle in the semifinals when her opponent played at a slower pace than to which she was accustomed. Her opponent was also very adept at returning everything sent to her. The Wildcat junior rebounded and posted a win to get into the championship.
Mill Valley's Carlene Bolton managed to pound out a 6-2 win over her teammate Amy Lowe in the fifth-place match.
Stacy Davis and Bianca Gonzalez ran their record to 11-0 as they won the doubles championship on their home court. The duo beat Leavenworth's Alicia Wedel and Brianna Ferguson 8-2 in the championship.
De Soto's No. 2 doubles team of Katie Beck and Emily Garza battled their way to a fifth-place win by default over Lansing's Bethanie Hill and Lindsay Parks. Bonner Springs' Hilary Johnson and Tara Smith took home the third-place hardware when they bested Mill Valley's Brittany Moore and Sarah Exon 8-2.
Earlier in the week, the Wildcats took mini-duals from Kansas City Christian (5-0) and Shawnee Mission West (4-1) and ran their dual record to 5-0.
Against the Panthers, Hampton and Prosser won their matches by identical 8-1 scores over Kim Francis and Irina Stevens, respectively. Emily Garza rounded out the singles portion of the match with an 8-6 triumph over Yulina Stevens.
In double action, Davis and Gonzalez made quick work of Heather Bennett and Sarah Francis with an 8-2 win, and Rebekah Gulley and Stephanie Hoover dispatched of Megan Dalbey and Stephanie Solari in No. 2 doubles as the Wildcats swept Kansas City Christian.
De Soto won all three singles matches against West. Hampton started the rout off with an 8-1 trouncing of Lizzy Dodd. Prosser defeated Emily Miller 8-6, and Katie Beck was better than Andrea Kirkwood by an 8-1 count.
Davis and Gonzalez edged Kirsten Felgate and Abby Williams by a 9-7 margin in No. 1 doubles. Gulley and Hoover lost to Monee Amin and Lindsey Anderson 8-4 in the other doubles match.
De Soto plays again at 8:30 a.m. Thursday at the Bonner Springs Tournament.