KEARNEY — Kearney girls tennis advanced to the Class 2 District 8 finals after beating Platte County 5-4 on Tuesday, Oct. 6.
The Bulldogs needed to hold off the Pirates to the bitter end as the score was tied 4-4 with only Kearney’s No. 1 singles player senior Anya Dunn facing Platte County’s Molly McBratney.
Dunn pulled off the three-set victory to keep the Bulldogs season and her high school tennis career alive for another match.
"All of our athletes played with their hearts last night and left everything on the courts," Kearney head coach Kaitlyn Lafrenz said.
Kearney entered postseason play with a 1-2 dual stretch to finish the year 5-4, but the Bulldogs swept East (Kansas City) 5-0 in the opening round of district play.
Senior Sara Dillon earned a spot at the state tournament as a singles competitor after taking second place at the Class 2 District 8 individual districts event Friday, Oct. 2 at Kearney High School.
"Advancing to state in singles was very shocking to me," Dillon said. "I am very excited about it, but also I know that it will be challenging."
Dillon said the her semifinals match to earn the state bid was nerve-racking match that lasted longer than nearly all the matches in her career.
"I was so into the game that I had no idea that the last point was the last point," she said.
After that exhausting experience, Dillon's high-energy style of play was missing when she lost to McBratney 6-1, 6-0 in the final.
The Bulldogs senior duo of Dunn and Emily Shepherd came one win away from joining their teammate at state in the doubles bracket as the team finished in third place.
Senior Josie Holst competed in singles and seniors Rachel Walt and Elly Walker competed in the doubles at the event but those three were unable to advance to the semifinals.
Dillon said it would be amazing if she could help get her entire team to clinch a spot at state sectionals. The Bulldogs just need to win their next match as they host St. Pius X Wednesday, Oct. 7 in the district finals.