After two back-to-back 5-0 victories, the Bolivar tennis team came away with its third straight district title on Tuesday, May 9.
The Bolivar boys tennis team came into this season losing eight seniors from last year's state runner-up finish.
“We graduated eight seniors last year and six of those guys were in our top eight,” said head coach Nathan Rothdiener. "We had a lot of inexperience coming in.”
But this year, there was no rebuilding.
Bolivar finished the season hot, winning eight of their last nine games heading into district play, including a second place finish in the Ozark Conference.
The district run started on Monday, May 8, where Bolivar played Carl Junction in the semifinal round.
Bolivar cruised to a 5-0 victory with three doubles wins and two singles wins from sophomore Cy Douglas and junior Seth Martin.
Then the next day on Tuesday, May 9, Bolivar faced off against Harrisonville in the district championship.
With storms brewing in the Bolivar area, the team looked to quickly shut out their opponent. With three quick doubles wins and only two more wins needed to seal the match, the hail started.
After an hour delay, the Liberators closed out another 5-0 win on their way to their third straight undefeated district championship.
“It's always tough to battle the elements and stop play for a bit, but the players responded well and after the delay came out and took care of business,” said Rothdiener. “Really proud of this squad!”
Rothdiener and assistant coach Royce Bryan have established a winning culture in the Bolivar boys and girls tennis program. The coaching duo has earned six straight district titles, two state runner-up finishes, and two third place trophies in only three years.
With the district championship under their belt, Bolivar now looks ahead to individual and team sectionals.
For the first time in school history, Bolivar advances all six varsity players past the individual district round and into the semifinals.
Douglas won the district championship for singles, with junior Ben Tull taking second place and advancing with Douglas to the sectional round.
Senior Kyle Pock and Martin won the district championship for doubles, with senior Emery Havens and junior Brodie Campbell taking second place.
These players will compete in the individual sectionals tournament at Willow Springs on Friday, May 12.
“Our goal is to keep on playing as long as we can,” said Rothdiener. “We have a tough road to get there, but it is very doable and exciting for us.”
The Liberators will continue to strive for their goals on Monday, May 15, when they face off against Logan-Rogersville in the sectional round with a third straight trip to state on the line.