The Parkway South Patriots girls tennis team are district tennis champions at last.
The Patriots defeated Eureka 5-1 to claim the Class 2 District 3 team championship on their home courts.
“It was the first time the girls team were district champs since 2007,” veteran coach Parkway Nick Tanurchis said.
Heading into the postseason, the Patriots had a record of 7-6. Tanurchis said the overall dual record was a bit misleading.
“We felt confident throughout the season and competed well,” Tanurchis said. “One of our highlights was during the Eureka Doubles Tournament when we edged out Clayton for first place.
“We felt pretty confident going into districts because we did well against Eureka and Summit during the season. So, we knew we had a good chance to do well going into it, but we still had to maintain our focus and keep working hard as we had done throughout the season.”
The Patriots opened with a 5-0 win over Summit. That set up the title match against the Wildcats.
“The girls were very excited when we won the team title,” Tanurchis said. “We had beaten both teams during the season, but this was a different type of pressure and I was very pleased we were up for the challenge. We competed hard and played well. I feel our entire team has improved in a lot of ways since the beginning of the season.”
The Patriots will face Cape Girardeau Central in the sectional round at 3:30 p.m. Thursday at Parkway South.
“We don’t get to see Cape Central too often,” Tanurchis said. “We are expecting it to be a great match. I believe this match will be decided by who stays focus, and has the will to keep the ball in play just a little longer than their opponent.”
The winner will play the winner of the St. Joseph’s Academy-Kirkwood match at 9 a.m. Saturday at St. Joseph’s.
“South’s highest finish for girls or boys as a team has been quarterfinalists, the top eight in state,” Tanurchis said. “We are hoping to make it back to that if things go well on Thursday.”
In individual district play, the Patriots advanced a doubles team to the sectional.
The Parkway South doubles duo Khayli Buckels and Maggie Moore beat Eureka’s Faith Orso and Emma Feltz 6-1, 6-0 for the district championship.
Then in the sectional round, the Buckels-Moore duo defeated Cape Girardeau Central’s Anita Kellum and Maria Seidu-Sofo 6-2, 6-4 to earn a trip to the Class 2 state doubles championship at the Cooper Tennis Complex on Oct. 25-26.
Tanurchis believes his two Patriots can make some noise at the state tournament.
“Maggie is a senior who brings back experience playing doubles in the state tournament. Her sophomore year, she finished fourth in doubles with her partner Emily Xu, which was the highest doubles finish of girls or boys teams in the history of South High,” Tanurchis said. “Khalyi is a freshmen and she is excited about her first time playing at the state tournament. She brings her experience of having played national tournaments and is currently ranked near No. 300 in the country.
“I believe the girls are very capable of making a good run at the state tournament.”