Two weeks ago, Collegiate’s doubles team of Sydney Lair and Hannah Geoffroy lost in a tiebreaker to Arkansas City’s Kelsie Burr and Chassidy Weathers in the Tournament of Champions final.
Lair and Geoffroy took a big step toward a rematch at state Saturday, scoring a straight-set victory over Wellington’s Kylie Aufdengarten and McKenna Adams, capturing the Class 4A regional title.
The doubles triumph helped the Spartans, who have won eight straight state championships, win the regional title with 20 points.
But it was hardly a cakewalk.
Andover Central, boosted by Libase Cermekova’s singles title, took second with 16, edging out Wellington, which amassed the bulk of its 15 points in doubles.
Lair, a state runner-up in singles last year as a junior, is in her first year pairing with Geoffroy. She said a rematch with Burr and Weathers would be nice, if that’s how the brackets fall out.
“We’re excited to get another shot to play them,” Lair said. “It was a great match last time, but we’re definitely excited.”
Burr and Weathers are defending Class 5A doubles champions, but because of KSHSAA reorganization the Bulldogs (2016 5A team champs) now find themselves in 4A.
Lair said that she and Geoffroy were more aggressive Saturday.
“(Coach Dave Hawley) told us this is a notch to prove ourselves and just show we’ve been practicing,” Lair said.
Geoffroy, a junior, said there are a number of matches before that rematch is in place.
“There’s a lot of things that have to go right for us to play them, because we’re on opposite sides of the draw,” she said. “But I hope we get the chance, because they’re good players.”
She said there has been quite a bit of hard work the past two weeks.
“We’ve been practicing a lot, been doing a lot of drills against our teammates, and that helps us a lot,” Geoffroy said. “We’re definitely stronger at the net.”
On the singles side, Cermekova, a foreign exchange student from the Czech Republic, continued to rack up victories, defeating Collegiate’s Lauren Conrad in the final 6-1, 6-1. Conrad finished third at state a year ago.
Cermekova, a senior, said she is enjoying her year in America. She competed in six tournaments this year, winning three and making the final in three others. She will face tough competition at state, including Topeka Hayden Brooklyn Hunter, a two-time 4A singles champion.
Coming to Kansas is quite a change from her homeland, she said.
“It’s definitely more flat here,” Cermekova said. “We have mountains there.”
Andover Central coach Janet Glaser said Cermekova assimilated well once she arrived.
“The best part about Liba is, she came into our team and became a part of it,” Glaser said. “She is out there practicing just the same as everyone. She’s not above picking up balls like everyone, she is a team player. She roots for the team.”
Cermekova’s game is already very good, Glaser said. She hasn’t needed to give her any adjustments, working with her mostly on the mental aspect.
“Trying just to keep her focused,” Glaser said.”She had an illness for a while and didn’t play for about 10 days.”
Her first match after the illness was against Bishop Carroll junior Brittany Steven, one of the top players in the City League. Steven won in a tiebreaker after Cermekova rallied from a 3-7 deficit.
“Getting her confidence back (after the layoff), getting her game back, so she was ready to go again,” Glaser said. “She is a fighter. She will come back. She is not above scraping for balls. She will move for every ball.
“She’s pretty solid.”
Team results: 1. Collegiate, 20; 2. Andover Central, 16; 3. Wellington, 15; 4. Circle, 7; 5. (tie) Augusta, El Dorado, Pratt, Ulysses, Trinity Academy, 0.
Singles: 1. Cermakova, Andover Central, def. Conrad, Collegiate, 6-1, 6-0; 3. Ruffin, Collegiate, def. Rowe, Wellington, 6-1, 6-1. 5. Williams, Andover Central, def. Scharenberg, Circle, 6-3, 6-1.
Doubles: 1. Syd. Lair-Geoffroy, Collegiate, def. M. Adams-Aufdengarten, 6-1, 6-4. 3. Maddex-Sagehorn, Andover Central, def. A. Rusk-R. Rusk, 6-4, 6-1. 5. A. Adams-Chase, Circle, def. Withrow-Sa. Lair, 6-4, 6-4.