Girls Tennis Roundup- Osage and Camdenton

MICHAEL LOSCH, Lake Sun Sports Editor
Osage's Lily Davis with her eighth place state medal in the Class 1 state singles tournament on Saturday, October 17, in Springfield.

Osage's Davis finishes eighth with All-State honors in Class 1 singles tournament

Osage senior Lily Davis has joined older sister among the program's All-State honorees. 

Like her older sister, Elise, who previously played in the 2018 state doubles tournament with teammate Kylie Misenheimer, Davis qualified and earned All-State honors with an eighth place finish among some of Missouri's best in the Class 1 singles tournament at Cooper Tennis Complex in Springfield.

"Any time you can medal in the state championships, it is quite an accomplishment. I am so incredibly happy and proud of Lily," said Osage coach Ann Gulshen who wrapped up her first season as the tennis coach for the Indians. "Lily is such a nice competitor and doesn't put a lot of pressure on herself nor let a competition define who she is as a person. She would rather lose with integrity than win with dishonesty. She displayed the sportsmanship of a champion all weekend and represented her school with some pretty incredible tennis skills as well. It was a fun and exciting weekend and a great way to end her senior tennis season at Osage."

Davis entered the tournament on Friday against 16 of the best and she took on Lamar's Alexia Phipps where she came up short against what Gulshen described as a defensive player (4-6, 3-6) that put Davis in the consolation bracket. 

Up next was a battle against Lutheran South's Hope Kassel and Davis kept her medal hopes alive with a 1-6, 6-3 10-6 tiebreaker win. 

"When you are down 1-6 in the first set, it would be so easy to give up but Lily kept fighting and came away with a big win," Gulshen stated. 

The win set up a match against Odessa' Kelsey Cockrum and Davis earned a win in two sets (7-5, 6-1) and a guaranteed medal. Davis went on to face Lincoln College Prep's Leiloni Payton in the first match on Saturday and fell (2-6, 2-6).

"This young lady caught my eye all day on Friday with her athleticism and aggressive play. Leiloni had a tough draw in the first round where she played the eventual state champion, but after that loss she was beating everyone 6-0," Gulshen noted. "Lily was able to score points and even games against her so we considered that to be a good achievement against the eventual winner of the consolation bracket."

The finale was a rematch against Phipps and Davis won the first set 6-2 before falling 2-6 in the second and 8-10 in the tiebreaker. 

"Under 30 mile per hour wind gusts swirling the ball around the court, it was a match of drama," Gulshen said. "With winds increasing, points became unpredictable and the tiebreak went back and forth before the last ball was blown back landing on the outside edge of the line, giving Lamar the win." 

And with as much fun as Davis may have had, Gulshen was just as excited to see state competition in a new sport after 29 years and numerous state appearances as a volleyball coach.

"I am so proud to be Lily's coach and be part of her tennis journey and have an opportunity to experience the state tournament as a first year coach. I could not ask for a nicer young lady to coach," Gulshen stated. "Neither Lily nor I went there with any expectations, but went to enjoy the experience and to play and watch some good tennis."

Camdenton's Hultz and Watson battle in Class 2 state doubles tournament

Camdenton's senior doubles duo of Haley Hultz and Victoria Watson were among some of Missouri's best at the Class 2 state doubles tournament on Thursday at Cooper Tennis Complex in Springfield. 

The duo, the first Laker girls at state in at least 20 years, were one of 16 teams vying for a state championship. Hultz and Watson dropped their first round match to William Chrisman's Tori Gant and Kiara Ashurst (4-6, 4-6) and fell to Republic's Wrigley Jo Cook and Abigail Lynn McCord (3-6, 2-6) in the double elimination tournament.

"Haley and Victoria had a tremendous senior season. Coach (Ted) Houx and I are extremely proud of the girls' hard work and dedicated leadership throughout their time in our program," Camdenton coach Kirk Richey said.

Camdenton seniors Haley Hultz (left) and Victoria Watson (right) at the Class 2 state doubles tournament in Springfield on Thursday, October 15.