By Amanda Perkins
Willow Springs opened up the Class 1 – District 9 team tennis championship against Mountain Grove with a sweep of all three doubles matches.
That meant just two singles victories separated Willow Springs from the district championship.
The Bears’ No. 1 player, Kaleb Capeder, accepted the challenge and defeated his opponent 6-1, 6-2. His doubles partner and fellow senior Kobe Coatney also withstood the pressure, putting up the clinching point in his own singles match to help his team to the title.
“Today was a great day,” said Willow Springs head coach David Cox. “We came out and were really focused and won all three of the doubles to start with and got a good start that fed over into our singles. Our one and two won to seal the victory; (Capeder and Coatney) are two of the best players in the area. We’ve been one match shy the last two years of getting a district championship, and to get over that hump and to get it this year is awesome.”
Nathan Alexander put Mountain Grove on the board by winning his singles match, but otherwise, head coach Kim Darrah said her Panthers struggled against a good Willow Springs team in the 5-1 loss.
“This is our third season,” said Darrah. “We started it up from scratch at our school, so I’m pretty proud of them. A second place finish in our third season is nothing to hang our heads about.”
The program has already doubled in size since its inception.
“Next year we lose two and we’ll have the rest back, so we’re looking forward to next season,” Darrah said.
“I’m really proud of everybody, they’ve worked really hard,” said Coach Cox. “The seniors have been great leaders. They’re the reason we’ve won it.”
The Bears move on to team sectionals on May 20 and host individual districts this Saturday.
Kaleb Capeder/Kobe Coatney (WS) def. John Darrah/Nathan Alexander (MG), 8-2
Andy Carda/Avery Traver (WS) def. Patrick Lane/Tristen Foster (MG), 8-5
Austin Ryan/Landon Rodgers (WS) def. Johnny Calus/Drake Friend (MG) 8-3
Kaleb Capeder (WS) def. John Darrah (MG), 6-1, 6-2
Kobe Coatney (WS) def. Patrick Lane (MG), 6-4, 6-1
Nathan Alexander (MG) def. Andy Carda (WS), 6-1, 6-4