ODESSA, Mo. — Bishop LeBlond faced a hefty task that nobody has accomplished this year in the Class 1 girls tennis semifinals on Monday — beating Odessa.
The Golden Eagles were primed for the challenge, however, knocking off the unbeaten Bulldogs 5-2 in the Class 1 quarterfinal round at the Odessa Sports Complex.
The win advances LeBlond to an appearance in the state semifinal for the first time since 2009. The Eagles all had similar reactions to the final four berth.
“Crazy,” junior Lily Sullivan said.
“Amazing” junior Peyton Netten concurred.
“Yeah, it feels pretty crazy,” senior Reese Robertson added.
Upon the conclusion of the three doubles matches, LeBlond trailed Odessa 2-1. Once singles matches set in, the Eagles took control, knocking off its opponents one by one.
When the final point clinched a trip to the state semifinal with two singles matches remaining, though not needed to conclude, celebration began.
“These girls have made so much progress as the season has gone on,” head coach Whitney Strasser said. “It’s really come circle for them to see all their hard work pay off in this way.”
With the win, the Eagles (10-3) hold a reverse record of what it saw two seasons ago. That slate ended with loss No. 10 in the first round of the district championship.
Two years later, they sit as the first MEC member to move on to the final four since their 2011 selves.
“It’s just an overwhelming feeling and I think we are all just full of excitement and we’re just really proud of each other,” senior Libby Weddle said.
With or without the win, LeBlond was already set to be represented at state. On Saturday, doubles duo Weddle and Netten earned themselves a trip alongside individual qualifier Emily Weddle.
Now, the Eagles can say they are heading to state together thanks to Monday’s sectional and quarterfinal wins.
“It’s a really exciting feeling to be going to start individually and with the team this year,” Strasser said. “I don’t know that LeBlond has ever been to this level of play. It’s really exciting to take these girls who have worked all season.”
The individual and doubles state bracket will be completed Friday at the Cooper Tennis Complex in Springfield.
LeBlond will have to wait to finish its team slate until 9 a.m. October 23, where it will face Bolivar in a semifinal contest, also in Springfield.
The Eagles’ championship or consolation game will follow October 24.
“We worked really hard to get here, we did a lot of dedication in practices, sophomore Katie King said. “It’s nice to see all our hard work pay off.”