Hunter Keithley third-time state-tourney qualifier, this time with Hannah Zimmerman, thanks to straight-sets sectional victory over Warrensburg players Wednesday (Oct. 16, 2019). CHS' Cavanah, May drop sectional singles matches

WARRENSBURG, Mo. — In the 1960s, pop singer Dionne Warwick had a big hit with a song titled, “Do you know the way to San Jose?”

Chillicothe High School senior Hunter Keithley might or might not know the way to northern California’s famous San Jose – although she knows well the way to its Missouri English counterpart St. Joseph, but she certainly knows the way to Springfield, Mo., and she’s helping girls’ tennis teammate Hannah Zimmerman learn it now.

For a third year in a row, Keithley will compete in Missouri’s 2019 Class 1 high school girls’ tennis state doubles tournament late next week, paired this time around with classmate Zimmerman, after that duo dispatched Warrensburg’s Sadie Misner/Jessica Snare tandem 6-3, 6-3 Wednesday (Oct. 16) in state-qualifying sectional matches.

According to CHS head coach Bob Long, the Lady Hornets’ top duo, 21-3 together on the season, controlled the net, forcing their foes to try unsuccessfully win from the baseline. 

Keithley participated in the state tourney in doubles as both a sophomore and junior with since-graduated Hannah Cypert as her playing partner. On both occasions, the CHS players lost their first two matches and were eliminated.

This year’s state tourney will be next Friday and Saturday at Springfield.

While Keithley and Zimmerman found not-unexpected success at Warrensburg’s Grover Park Wednesday, their teammates involved in singles matches did not.

Senior Macy Cavanah, beaten 4-8 by Hannah Pomrenke of Marshall earlier this season, battled the favored Lady Owl to 4-4 in the first set of the best-of-3, pro-6-scoring sectional match before Pomerenke claimed the next two games and the set, 6-4. With that boost, the MHS player rolled on to a 6-0 win in the second set to take match.

At the same time, CHS junior Delaney May, a huge underdog, lost 0-6, 0-6 to Marshall's No. 1 player, Carlie Aldredge.

“Macy forced her opponent to play cautiously,” Long said of the Lady Hornet’s “roll the dice” strategic gambit that had Pomerenke on the defense.

However, the coach described, once she was unable to win the first set, “after giving everything she had in the first set, Macy was drained physically” and fairly easy prey for the favored foe the rest of the match.

Cavanah and Pomerenke will see each other again Friday – a day earlier than originally planned – when the Class 1 team state tournament gets underway with Chillicothe and Marshall meeting in a team dual match at the Kansas City courts used by Pembroke Hill High.

Chillicothe’s District 15 champions will square off with the traditional regional rival and familiar foe in a 9 a.m. rematch. That action previously was slated for tomorrow, but an unfavorable weather forecast prompted a switch to today.

The Lady Hornets, 14-2 in team dual matches this season, suffered one of those two losses at home at Marshall’s hands on Sept. 30, failing to win a set.

Marshall took most of the individual position wins in the prior meeting by wide margins.

The closest score was in No. 3 doubles, which Lady Hornets Megan Sisson and Leah Lourenco lost to Karsyn King and Lakeshia Thomas only 5-8. In singles, as previously noted, Cavanah fell to Pomerenke 4-8 in No. 2 spot, the same score by which Lourenco lost to Thomas at No. 6.

Keithley and Zimmerman, Chillicothe’s Midland Empire Conference and district doubles champions, were overwhelmed by MHS’ Aldredge and Pomerenke 2-8 in No. 1 doubles.

In today’s team action, the usual postseason procedures will be used.

That means doubles be a single set with “pro-8” scoring (first duo to win eight games with a lead of at least two games) wins the match. Singles will be best-of-3-sets “pro-6” scoring. Set 12-points tiebreakers will be used and all “deuce” games will be played out fully.

Also in effect will be the match termination procedure. Once a team has won five positions sets/matches, giving it an insurmountable lead in the 9-positions team match, all play will be halted. Should Marshall repeat its September doubles sweep of Chillicothe, that could mean only two singles matches are played out fully.

The winner of the Chillicothe-Marshall match will clash with the winner of a simultaneous match between Pembroke Hill and Maryville – almost certain to be won by the hosts – in a 1 p.m. state quarterfinals match today to see which team from Districts 13-16 advances to next week’s team state semifinals and finals at Springfield.

Results from Friday’s CHS team action will be posted on our website as soon as possible after official outcomes are received.