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Tight Tennis Tussle Tips Chillicothe (Mo.) HS Lady Hornets’ Way Monday

Staff Writer
Chillicothe News
Junior Leah Lourenco of the 2020 Chillicothe (Mo.) HS tennis Lady Hornets draws her racquet back to make a backhand return during her 9-8 (7-3) No. 4 singles victory over Trenton's Alaina Overton Monday (Sept. 7). With this victory and her and No. 2 doubles partner Cami Carpenter's 8-3 win, Lourenco remained undefeated both in singles and doubles through CHS' first three dual matches of the season. Although nearly every position set was tightly-contested, Chillicothe came away with a 7-2 team victory Monday.

Two Chillicothe (Mo.) HS fall sports varsity teams had Labor Day matches Monday (Sept. 7), resulting in one deceptively-decisive victory and one defeat.

The tennis Lady Hornets topped visiting neighbor Trenton 7-2 in a match the visitors could have captured by taking a relative handful of points that CHS took instead. Two of the nine position sets went Chillicothe’s way on 12-points tiebreakers and four other Lady Hornets set wins were either by 8-5 or 8-6 margins.

While the CHS tennis girls were improving to 2-1 in duals on the season, the soccer Hornets were getting shut out 3-0 at Maryville in a Midland Empire Conference match.

Steady under pressure, CHS netters prevail

CHILLICOTHE — When is a lopsided high school tennis victory not a lopsided triumph? When the individual sets are as closely contested as nearly every one was at Chillicothe’s Daryl Danner Memorial Park Monday, yet one side claims the majority of those taut battles.

Only two of Monday’s nine position sets – an 8-3 doubles win for each side – saw a final score more than a 8-5 spread. However, because Chillicothe claimed six of those seven evenly-contested sets – including two on best-of-12-points tiebreakers, it walked away from the holiday action a 7-2 victor.

The evenness that eventually defined the match didn’t manifest itself right away.

In the opening three doubles sets, THS’ Lexi Gott and Morgan Dolan bested Chillicothe’s No. 1 tandem of Delaney May and Megan Sisson 8-3. At the same time, on the adjacent court, Lady Hornets Cami Carpenter and Leah Lourenco were posting an 8-3 win of their own in No. 2 play.

Once those two sets ended, the remaining seven could have wound up in either team’s “wins” column.

Setting the tone for what was to come, both in terms of the tightness of the set scoring and which squad would celebrate the result, CHS freshman Rylee Washburn and junior Olivia Anderson won four of the first five points of the tiebreaker and took it 7-4, giving them the set 9-8.

That pivoted the non-conference match between last year’s district-tournament finals opponents to the singles competition with the hosts in front 2-1, rather than the opposite had Trenton taken the tiebreaker.

Taking their cue from the No. 3 doubles set, all of the singles positions saw close, hard-won outcomes that only a few different point results could have flipped the other way.

In No. 1 singles, May “got even” for the No. 1 doubles loss by coming from behind to best Gott 8-6.

In No. 4 position, CHS junior Leah Lourenco took the court owning a perfect 3-0 2020 doubles record to date, as well as a 2-0 singles mark.

After 16 games of the set were played under the “pro-8” format, her perfection was in major danger as the set was deadlocked at 8-8, forcing another tiebreaker. The Chillicothe 11th grader didn’t let the pressure wilt her, establishing a lead over Alaina Overton relatively early in the “overtime” and closing it out at 7-3 to take the set, 9-8.

While not quite as tight, the other four singles sets each saw the vanquished player own five game wins, but the Lady Hornets’ being on the long end of the quartet of 8-5 finals in No. 2 play with Carpenter, No. 5 with Washburn, and at No. 6 with Audrey Snider meant a lopsided-looking 7-2 match score.

The only Lady Hornet unable to capture her singles action was senior Megan Sisson at No. 3.

The team result lifted CHS’ early record to 2-1. Its next action is due to be Tuesday (Sept. 8) at home at 4 p.m. against MEC foe St. Joseph: Lafayette.

Script flips on CHS soccer Hornets

MARYVILLE — The goals came early, easily, and often for the 2020 Chillicothe (Mo.) HS soccer Hornets in their season opener Sept. 1. Six days later, at Maryville, they came not at all.

After racking up an abbreviated, 8-0 Midland Empire Conference home triumph over Cameron in only 50 minutes last week, the Hornets were shut out by the host MHS Spoofhounds Monday, falling 3-0.

The league match was scoreless as it entered the second 10 minutes of the second half, but then things changed steadily.

In the 52nd minute, CHS head coach Tim Cunningham reports, ’Hound Truitt Haer scored on the only corner kick Maryville had all match, breaking the scoring ice.

About eight minutes later, Kason Teale doubled the hosts’ lead and James Distefano upped it to 3-0 another eight minutes after that in the 68th minute of the 80-minutes match.

Although they put six shots “on frame” and also had six corner-kick chances to score off a “set piece,” the Hornets never solved the Maryville goalkeeper as their very-early overall and conference records leveled out at 1-1.

In addition to winning, the Spoofhounds were the busier offensive squad, in terms of shots on goal. They took 10, of which Hornets junior goalkeeper Jaxon Albertson repelled six.

The Chillicothe booters were scheduled to travel to St. Joseph Tuesday (Sept. 8) for another MEC match with Lafayette, but some COVID-19 cases affecting the north St. Joe school has caused that play to be postponed indefinitely, Cunningham reported Monday.

That means the CHS club’s next competition still will be loop action in northern St. Joseph, but a ways east at Bishop LeBlond. That will come up Thursday at 5 p.m., weather and field conditions permitting.

Junior Olivia Anderson of the 2020 Chillicothe (Mo.) HS tennis Lady Hornets serves as No. 3 doubles teammate Rylee Washburn awaits a possible return during their 9-8 (7-4) triumph over Trenton's Emilee Lovell and Harley Hall Monday at Chillicothe's Daryl Danner Memorial Park courts. CHS captured a pair of sets on 12-points tiebreakers to help lift it past THS' Lady Bulldogs by a deceptively-wide 7-2 team score in the Labor Day match.