Marshall again dispatches Lady Hornets without loss of a set Wednesday, Oct. 3, takes Class 1 District 15 team title

MARSHALL, Mo. — Although Chillicothe’s top doubles team gave a much-better account of itself than in a recent regular-season dual match against long-time regional prep tennis power Marshall, the host Lady Owls still didn’t surrender anything to CHS’ strong 2018 Lady Hornets squad Wednesday.

Meeting at Marshall High’s courts again only nine days after the Lady Owls posted a caveated 9-0 triumph over the Lady Hornets, but this time with a district championship and team state-tournament appearance in the balance, Chillicothe was strongly competitive in two of the three match-opening doubles sets, but could not capture any of them. Ahead 3-0 going to singles play and needing only five position wins to claim the title, the Lady Owls quickly deposited the Nos. 2 and 3 singles matches in the “wins” column with the loss of only one of 25 games to claim a 5-0 victory and the Class 1 District 15 crown.

While Wednesday’s loss concludes CHS’ team play for the year with an excellent 17-3 mark in dual matches, the Lady Hornets’ varsity players still have the opportunity to extend their personal seasons into next week.

Today, weather permitting, the District 15 non-team singles and doubles tourneys will be hosted at the Marshall High courts, starting at about 9-10 a.m.

Each of the six schools participating – Chillicothe, Marshall, Carrollton, Moberly, Boonville, and Kirksville – can enter two singles players and two doubles teams for seeded/bracketed play.

At the end of play, both the district champion in each style and the runnersup will be qualified for a state-tournament-qualifying sectional match usually held early- to mid-week the week after district.

Chillicothe’s tandem of Hunter Keithley and Hannah Cypert, 2-times Midland Empire Conference champions, won the district doubles title against a different set of district foes last year. Depending on how Marshall’s coach opts to deploy his talented players, the Cypert/Keithley combo could be either the No. 1 or 2 seed, having suffered its only two losses this season to MHS’ top duo of Hannah Pomerenke and Margaret Sherman. Given that Pomerenke and Sherman – like Keithley and Cypert for CHS – normally occupy the Nos. 2 and 3 spots in the Lady Owls’ lineup, it seems near-certain they’ll be entered in the district doubles and be the top seed ahead of the Lady Hornets’ duo.

How Marsh would align the rest of her players was not clear at the time of the initial writing of this story.

Wednesday at Marshall, Chillicothe’s Cypert/Keithley pairing made some amends for the 0-8 loss they had against Pomerenke/Sherman the week before. However, the Lady Hornets' upgrade – though significant and potentially encouraging, should they get another chance to face them in the district finals – fell a bit short of putting them on the long end of the final score.

Despite their improved performance, Keithley and Cypert fell 5-8 in the No. 1 doubles Wednesday. They then were blitzed by the same two Marshall players – Pomerenke over Keithley at No. 2 spot and Sherman over Cypert at No. 3 – in singles. Pomerenke cruised 6-0, 6-0 and Sherman 6-0, 6-1, Marsh reports.

When those two singles outcomes were finalized, all of the other, in-progress singles matches were stopped and discontinued. Whether Chillicothe was faring any better in those four matches was not reported, but, when the teams had met late last month, CHS’ Macy Cavanah was holding a substantial lead over her No. 4 singles opponent when illness forced her to quit and forfeit. That allowed MHS to nominally register a 9-0 win that, most likely, would have been 8-1 without Cavanah’s demise.

While Keithley and Cypert were giving a much-stronger accounting of themselves – compared to the Sept. 24 dual – in their doubles loss Wednesday, Chillicothe’s Hannah Zimmerman/Cavanah combination was repeating its strong showing at No. 3 doubles.

Defeated by Karsyn King and Claudia Cruz only 9-7 early last week, the CHS duo stayed right in the match again Wednesday, but finally bowed 5-8.

Marshall took the No. 2 doubles handily again, Carlie Aldredge and Katherine Elfrink (daughter of former Chillicothean Melanie Eden) prevailing 8-2 after having blanked Lady Hornets Gracy and Lucy Reeter in the prior clash.