CHESTERFIELD (KMOX) – There’s no easy way for the Parkway Central Colts to describe their District Championship match last week.
Parkway had a 2-1 lead over the Lafayette Lancers after the doubles matches concluded, on September 28. Next were the six singles matches and Colts head coach Lee Hayes noticed an inevitable outcome.
“You start adding up the stuff,” Lee says. “And you’re going ‘Uh oh. This is going to come down to the last match.’”
That match would be between each team’s No. 3, which for Parkway, was sophomore Zoe Hahn. She said she had never felt that type of pressure in her life.
Hahn won the first set, then the second went into a first-to-six tiebreaker with Hahn down 3-1. By that time the team match had been going on for nearly four hours and daylight was nearly gone. Lafayette’s courts don’t have lighting.
“And I kind of wasn’t playing the way I should have been, like I did in the first set,” Hahn says. “Then yeah I was down in the tiebreaker and I like literally couldn’t see anymore.”
Her match was the last game being played, and the team score was tied at four. Meaning, if she lost, the Colts’ team would be eliminated, but if she won they would advance one step closer to a Missouri State Championship.
Both coaches decided the match had to be moved — in the middle of a set. The players, coaches and about 50 fans in attendance drove 15 minutes away to courts with lights in Vlasis Park.
But there was still a problem, there wasn’t an open court.
“And we did have to wait till a court was open,” Hays says. “It’s was a public facility. And then the funny part of the story is that the people that were on the court were intimidated that everybody was watching their level of tennis so they just left anyways.”
As crowds pressed up against the fence, Hahn said it was like nothing she had ever experienced in high school tennis.
“If you win a point you hear like this loud cheering for you,” Hahn says. “And if you lose you hear the cheering for the other people.”
Hays says the emotion from both players were very tense, and even breaking them to tears at times.
Hahn would lose that second set, then go down 3-1 in the final set.
“I always tell myself to just keep fighting for every point,” Hahn says. “Even if I’m down love-40 that just makes me, like work even harder and that’s why I think I’m good at coming back.
“I just have to really fight until I just can’t play anymore.”
And Hays says that’s just part of the game.
“You know competition does that to you,” Hays says. “All the sudden you just get so nervous you can’t even do what you do. And these guys seem to be able to find another gear.”
Hahn would win the next five games in a row to take the set and win the match for Parkway. Her teammates mobbed her on the court as the Colts move on to Sectionals.
Next, they play on Saturday, October 8, against St. Joesph’s Academy in the first round of sectionals.
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