Chillicothe (Mo.) Hornets Junior Corbin State-Bound in Tennis

Wins sectional match at home in straight sets; CHS doubles hopefuls fall

By PAUL STURM, C-T Sports Editor
Chace Corbin, Chillicothe (Mo.) HS tennis Hornets junior, watches the flight of the baseline forehand he's just sent toward his opponent during Friday's state-qualifying Class 1 sectional singles match on Chillicothe's Daryl Danner Memorial Park courts. Corbin won the match against Matt Goodridge of Maryville 6-2, 6-3 to advance to the upcoming state tournament at springfield.

By PAUL STURM, C-T Sports Editor

Continuing his tremendous emergence as a first-year varsity player, junior Chace Corbin of the Chillicothe (Mo.) HS tennis Hornets on Friday served himself a trip to the Class 1 state tournament.

With that state appearance and extension of his season on the line, the Hornets’ top player of 2021 showed no signs of nervousness, dominating Matt Goodridge of Maryville 6-2, 6-3 in their state-qualifying sectional singles match at the Daryl Danner Memorial Park courts in Chillicothe.

Improving to 19-4 in singles competition, his second win over Goodridge in just over a week qualifies him to be one of the 16 players in the May 21-22 Class 1 state singles competition at the Cooper Tennis Complex at Springfield.

Two senior Chillicothe teammates – cousin Caleb Corbin and Carter Allen – gave a strong account of themselves in their sectional doubles match against District 16 champions Matt and Andrew Collier of Midland Empire Conference champion Savannah.

Chillicothe (Mo.) HS senior tennis Hornet Caleb Corbin swats a forehand return from the alley as doubles partner Carter Allen looks on during their Class 1 sectional match at Chillicothe's Daryl Danner Memorial Park courts Friday. Despite a strong, late surge in the second set that earned them two set points, the Hornets tandem lost 1-6, 6-7 (4) to end their season one step short of state tournament.

Defeated 2-8 by the Savages duo in the fifth-place set of the MEC Tournament recently, the Hornets tandem battled back from a 5-4 deficit in the second set to have a double set point at 6-5. However, the Colliers won the next three points to win the game and tie the set, forcing a 12-points tiebreaker.

The Chillicotheans then fell behind immediately in the tiebreaker and, after being within 5-4 three-fourth of the way through it, dropped the next two points for a season-ending 1-6, 6-7 (4) defeat.

Advancement to the sectional match also was a strong accomplishment for the CHS senior pair, considering Allen played golf, not tennis, two years ago (before the COVID-19-canceled 2020 season) and Ca. Corbin was virtually-exclusively a junior-varsity level player as a sophomore, often paired with his younger cousin.

They had hoped to end CHS' 4-years "drought" between state doubles qualifiers. The last time the Hornets sent a duo to state was 2016 when Nate McKiddy and Brandon Lamp qualified.

Ch. Corbin, who displayed growing athletic maturity, skill and confidence with the soccer Hornets last fall, emerging as one of the team’s top players, has continued that trend on the tennis court this spring. Regardless of the outcome of his trip to state, where some win-lose success often depends as much on the “luck of the draw,” in terms of first-round pairings, he’ll gain additional experience against high-caliber competition which figures to stand him in good stead during his 2022 senior season.

To get to state, the recently-crowned District 15 champion, like his teammates in doubles, had to confront an opponent previously faced. Like his fellow Hornets, he ended up repeating the outcome of the first meeting, but, in the younger Corbin’s case, that was for the good.

Triumphant over Maryville’s top player 8-4 during the school’s regular-season-ending dual match eight days before, Ch. Corbin zipped to an early lead and never gave Goodridge any real hint of vulnerability.

The Chillicothe junior won the opening set 6-2 and won three games in a row in the second set to turn a even set into one he led 5-2.

While Goodridge held serve to inch closer, the Hornet did the same to take the set 6-3 and the match in straight sets in the cloudy, but mild, conditions.