Three of Valley Center’s five state qualifiers have graduated. Two of the top returners were out of town Tuesday. The Hornets’ most experienced entrants, Jill Seidl and Katie Bauguess, played in the No. 1 doubles bracket – and they didn’t disappoint.
The Hornet duo kept it close but Maize eventually won in a tiebreaker, 8-7 (7-5). Valley Center coach Dean Schulz said he wasn’t surprised by the margin.
“It was convincing the girls they could play at that level,” he said of the main challenge.
After some early jitters, they began to believe. Bauguess and Seidl fared the best of Valley Center’s players Tuesday, taking second place in their bracket. Lungwitz and Holman earned the No. 1 doubles title.
Salina South secured the team championship with a score of 27, edging Maize, which compiled 23. Conway Springs finished with 18, Valley Center followed with 10 and Goddard Eisenhower had six.
Tuesday’s tournament featured a tough field. According to this week’s Kansas Tennis Coaches Association rankings, Conway Springs is the No. 1 team in Class 3-2-1A. Maize and Salina South are listed among “others” in 6A and 5A, respectively.
Schulz identified at least one point he planned to emphasize after the Hornets’ home debut.
“We get tentative when it gets tight,” he said. “We need to learn to get aggressive when we have the opportunity. That’ll come.”
Schulz said he knew Valley Center’s No. 2 doubles team, Shelby Bosken and Joanie Mies, would struggle since the girls were moving up from the junior varsity squad. He added that the Hornets’ go-to singles players were “still unknown” because they lack substantial varsity minutes.
However, he voiced hope that both doubles squads would reach the state tournament this year. If the singles players don’t advance, he continued, they still could benefit the team by scoring points.
Valley Center placed fifth of seven teams Thursday, Aug. 30, in a tournament at McPherson. The Hornets’ league – the Ark Valley Chisholm Trail Division II – has changed. McPherson dropped out but Maize South moved up from Division IV.
Schulz said Division II members were formidable, and competition with them should be an advantage for Valley Center during postseason play.
“For the most part we play a pretty tough schedule, and that just gets us ready,” he remarked.