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John Burroughs vs. Visitation tennis

John Burroughs doubles partners Sami Remis (left) and Lily Walther slap hands after winning a point during a Class 1 girls team tennis state quarterfinal against Visitation on Friday, October 18, 2019 at Vistitation Academy in Town and Country, Mo. Paul Kopsky, STLhighschoolsports.com

TOWN AND COUNTRY — The John Burroughs girls tennis team played Visitation in the championship match of the Missouri Class 1 girls team tennis state tournament last year. The Bombers won that match 5-0.

The teams matched up again Friday in the state tournament, this time in the Class 1 quarterfinals.

The result was the same as the Bombers earned a return trip to Springfield after another 5-0 victory at Visitation.

"The girls played like they were hungry today," John Burroughs coach Lindsay Carlile said. "I like the way they competed. I think they are turning the corner and playing some of their best tennis of the season right now."

John Burroughs set the tone for the match by sweeping the three doubles courts.

"That was huge to get up 3-0 after doubles," Carlile said.

Lily Walther and Sami Remis won at No. 1 doubles over Sophia McLellan and Suzanna McLellan 8-2.

The other courts were also won by decisive margins.

Ainsley Heidbreder and Gaby Thornton defeated Laura Finnie and Annie WIlkinson by the same 8-2 score at No. 2 doubles.

Emily Kantrovitz and Stiuti Sinha, who was playing in place of Nina Zhu who is recuperating from a sore ankle, won at No. 3 doubles over Sejal Sekhar and Ellie Bacich 8-3.

The Bombers thus needed to win just two of the six singles courts. It was fitting that the two senior captains, Remis and Thornton, would be the two to finish first.

"It was cool that Sami and Gaby were the first to finish and seal the deal for us to get back to the state tournament," Carlile said. "They have been great leaders for the team."

Remis was first off the court after a 6-3, 6-1 victory over Finney at No. 2 singles. Finnie finished third in the MSHSAA Individual Tournament in singles last year.

"I feel good about the way I am playing right now," said Remis, who will play at Middlebury College (CT) next year. "I am super excited to get back to Springfield with the team and all of us individually."

The Bombers will send the team to the team tournament Thursday at the Cooper Tennis Complex. And they will send the maximum six players to the individual phase of the tournament Friday and Saturday. The two seniors, Remis and Thornton, will be back to defend their Class 1 doubles championship. Kantrovitz and Zhu will also play doubles at state while Walther and Heidbreder will play singles. All won their individual sectional matches by 6-0, 6-0 scores.

"I know the end is near in my high school career and I am enjoying every bit of it," Remis said. "We knew this was going to be a tough match and we talked about keeping our focus. We knew that they wanted to go to Springfield as much as we did. I thought we had positive energy all day."

Both teams had what proved to be tune-up matches in the sectional round earlier Friday. John Burroughs defeated St. Dominic and Visitation beat Palmyra by 5-0 scores.

The loss ended the season for the Vivettes, who entered Friday with just one loss against St. Joseph's Academy. Visitation will be sending a singles player (Finnie) and a doubles team (the McLellan sisters) to the individual tournament Friday and Saturday.

"I feel we are close, but not close enough," Visitation coach Kurt Miller said. "We have some good girls who work hard and are fair on the court. I thought we gave them a good fight on every court today.".

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