From staff reports
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. —
The Joplin tennis team made school — and possibly league — history on Thursday when it swept the Ozark Conference tournament.
Four brackets, four Joplin championships.
Jeremy Lynn repeated as the No. 1 singles champion while Brooks Butler pulled off an upset in the final round for the No. 2 singles title.
Luke Frogge and Edran Ali teamed to win No. 1 doubles while Sam Willcoxon and Duncan Ford did the same in No. 2 doubles.
“I’m extremely proud of the kids,” Joplin coach Sam McWilliams said. “This is definitely the first time Joplin has ever swept the conference like that and it’s the first time any of the coaches could think of that it has ever happened on the boys side.”
It was the second straight Ozark title for the Eagles, who tied with Glendale last year. The two teams were neck-and-neck again Thursday.
Lynn and Butler each beat Glendale opponents in their championship matches, as did the doubles team of Frogge and Ali. Willcoxon and Ford had to rally from a 5-2 deficit to beat a Glendale team in the semifinals.
“To win it outright this year feels great,” said McWilliams, who was at home with his wife and newborn child and kept tabs on the tournament through text messages and calls. “For them to get through today and sweep the tournament, that’s great for Joplin tennis, for the school and for the community.”
Lynn rolled through his first two matches before needing a comeback against Glendale’s Micah Klousia. Lynn lost serve and trailed 8-7 before rallying for a a 7-5 win in the tiebreaker.
“For Jeremy to come back after losing serve like that says a lot about him,” McWilliams said. “He really changed the momentum of the match.”
Butler cruised to his No. 2 singles title, winning 6-0 and 8-1 before beating Glendale’s Luke Hanson 8-2 in the finals.
“That was probably the biggest win of his career,” McWilliams said of Butler’s win over Hanson. “And he beat him pretty handily. That shows you how hard he has worked.”
Frogge and Ali won 6-0 and 8-4 before an 8-4 win over Glendale in the finals. Willcoxon and Ford beat a Rolla duo 8-5 in the finals after their 9-8 (7-5) win over Glendale in the semifinals.
“I was really impressed with our doubles teams,” McWiliams said. “You don’t have to put your players in one category for the conference tournament. You can have your No. 2 singles guy playing doubles and a lot of teams do.
“So we had our 5 and 6 guys playing against 2s from other teams, and they did great.”