What a racket
Late-starting tennis squad blanks Mill Valley
The De Soto tennis team was officially the last Wildcat spring squad to start its season and the racket Cats wasted little time showing how they used their extra days off.
De Soto won its first two events of the season, taking first Monday in a Topeka quadrangular, then returning home Tuesday to earn its first ever win over intra-district rival Mill Valley, sweeping the Jaguars 9-0.
"One of the things we really want to do was beat them this year because we never have," De Soto coach Michael Sullivan said. "To do it is good and to do it that way is good to show how far the team's come."
The wins at the Topeka quadrangular came against a group of much larger schools -- Junction City, Topeka West and Highland Park -- but there was no denying which of the two the Cats cherished most.
De Soto fell to Mill Valley 6-3 a season ago, but dominated from the start this year.
Doubles standouts Dan Hoschouer and Andy Edwards, one day removed from a perfect 3-0 showing in Topeka, were again at their best. They beat Mill Valley's top doubles team 8-3, then each individual went on for easy wins in the singles competition.
Hoschouer beat Scott Van Kuiken, 8-0, and Edwards beat Josiah Cox, 8-2.
Tatsuya Manabe, who was also 3-0 in Topeka, kept his record spotless, winning in singles, 8-2, and teaming with fellow singles regular Matt Edwards for an 8-6 win over Cox and Bret Herman.
That two-point match was as close as any were throughout the day. Matt Edwards won his singles bout, 8-1. Nathan Cardiff won, 8-4, and Dave Worley won 8-1.
Cardiff and Worley won their doubles match 8-1.
"Honestly I can't point to one person," Sullivan said. "When you can get a sweep and the wins are impressive like that, everyone played well. I can't point to any person and say this person played better.
"It was just one of those things the guys really wanted. They've been working really hard this season preparing, so they simply got it done on the court."
Next up for De Soto is a trip to Paola. Last year the Cats tied for second, but fell to fourth via tiebreakers. But, given the sparkling start the team has gotten off to, second place isn't on anyone's mind.
"It looks good now through the first couple matches," Hoschouer said. "We need to keep playing to improve.
"We want to go to state and we want to do good at state."