Shawnee Mission East tennis falters in final dual

Senior Joie Beth Freirich volleys a ball during a doubles match against Blue Valley North on Wednesday. Freirich and Larkin McLiney fell 2-8.
Senior Joie Beth Freirich volleys a ball during a doubles match against Blue Valley North on Wednesday. Freirich and Larkin McLiney fell 2-8.

In its final tune up before regionals, the Shawnee Mission East tennis team fell 3-9 to Blue Valley North.

The Lady Lancers earned victories from Joie Beth Freirich and Gretchen Cooper in singles and from the doubles pairing of Quincy Bair and Camille Moore.

[pullquote]

SM East vs. Blue Valley North

SINGLES
Sarah Wilcox l. Chloe Kuckelman, 6-8
Caro Bush l. Athena Tran,
Joie Beth Freirich d. Evelyn Chang, 9-7
Lucy Kendall l. Karen Yan, 0-8
Gretchen Cooper d. Sydnee Paisner, 8-6
Quincy Bair l. Paige Bailey, 4-8
Kirsten Erickson l. Mira Bhagat, 6-8
Carson Holtgraves l. Tatum Trysla, 0-8

DOUBLES
Freirich/Larkin McLiney l. Chang/Yan, 2-8
Kendall/Cooper l. Bridgit Brown/Paisner, 5-8
Holtgraves/Erickson l. Kuckelman/Tran, 0-8
Bair/Camille Moore d. Bhagat/Trysla, 8-3[/pullquote]

Freirich along with doubles partner Larking McLiney will most likely see Evelyn Chang and Karen Yan again on Saturday. Chang and Yan are the defending state champions and defeated Freirich and McLiney 2-8 yesterday.

Coach Andy Gibbs thought it was good seeing the level of competition from Blue Valley North especially three days away from regionals.

He thought the girls could have been a little bit crisper, but thinks they’ll be able to iron those out in the coming days and hopefully next week as girls qualify for the 6A state tournament.

Gibbs said Freirich earning a win in singles was a big confidence boost for her.

“That chance to get on the court, that chance to feel good about your game is good,” Gibbs said. “That was a great win for her.”

While that singles match came down to the very end, junior Sarah Wilcox’s match against Chloe Kuckelman was a slugfest.

Wilcox fell 6-8, but it was an improvement the last time the two play, which resulted in Kuckelman winning 8-1.

“She did some nice things figuring out what her plan and approach is going to be when they meet again whether that’s a regionals or state or both,” Gibbs said. “Even that 8-1 was a closer match than the score indicated.”

Wilcox said she’s looking forward to regionals, which will be a best 2-of-3 format instead of an eight game pro set.

She was down 2-5, but rallied to make it 4-5 and frustrated Kuckelman a bit.

“I went after every ball,” Wilcox said. “When you start doing that it makes them mad. I was trying to stay out there as long as possible.

“If I don’t give her balls she can attack and I keep her deep most of the time, then I think I’ll have a pretty good chance.”

Junior Sarah Wilcox returns a ball during a match against Chloe Kuckelman. Wilcox fell 6-8, but will likely see Kuckelman again this weekend at regionals.
Junior Sarah Wilcox returns a ball during a match against Chloe Kuckelman. Wilcox fell 6-8, but will likely see Kuckelman again this weekend at regionals.
Sophomore Lucy Kendall serves to Blue Valley North's Bridgit Brown and Sydnee Paisner on Wednesday. Kendall and partner Gretchen Cooper fell 5-8.
Sophomore Lucy Kendall serves to Blue Valley North’s Bridgit Brown and Sydnee Paisner on Wednesday. Kendall and partner Gretchen Cooper fell 5-8.