LHS tennis splits makeshift dual

You’ll have to forgive Lawrence High girls tennis coach Steve Hudson for getting a little flustered Wednesday afternoon when the Lions split a pair of varsity matches.

LHS defeated Olathe South, 4-2, and lost to Shawnee Mission South, 4-2, on a day in which they originally were scheduled to play just one match.

Hudson was preparing for his team’s dual meet at home against Olathe South when he received a call informing him the meet no longer would be a two-team affair.

Shawnee Mission South coach Stephanie Graham already had her team en route to Lawrence High.

“The coach called me on her cell phone on the bus and said, ‘I have 20 girls, we’re heading your way, and we’ll be there in an hour,'” Hudson said.

SM South brought its varsity team – and a full junior-varsity squad to compete. But Lawrence’s JV team was already on the road at Olathe South.

Graham, in her first year with the Raiders, said the mixup occurred because the previous year’s coach had scheduled the meet, and Graham never was able to get in touch with her athletic director.

Hudson scrambled to add two more players to his roster.

The predicament meant that while LHS played the Falcons in doubles, the Lions also took on the Raiders in singles.

“With three teams, it’s kind of odd because you don’t want to have just two teams playing and one team sitting out the whole time,” Hudson said. “So, in order to get everybody playing, we had to mix and match a bit.”

In the end, what could have been a debacle turned into an opportunity to get non-varsity players court time and for the regulars to play extra matches.

“It was good for me and my (doubles) partner to work together for later on in the season,” LHS sophomore Marcy Vickers said.

Graham was happy her girls were able to participate and even spoke with Hudson about scheduling a meet later this season.

“He did a really good job of thinking on his feet and getting us matches,” she said.

The Lions appeared on their way to sweeping the event after leading SM South 2-0 in doubles play. But LHS lost all four of its singles matches, the last setback coming in a tiebreak at No. 1 singles.

Still, as droplets of rain began falling, Hudson pointed out the afternoon could have been much worse.

“It’s been kind of a crazy day,” he said. “A crazy day, but at least we didn’t get rained out.”