Your online home for Joplin area sports coverage.

GIRLS TENNIS: Eagles, Bulldogs end season at state tourney


SPRINGFIELD, Mo.  — Athletes from Joplin and Carl Junction concluded the 2021 season at the 47th MSHSAA Girls Tennis Championships on Thursday at the Cooper Tennis Complex.



Competing in Class 3, Joplin’s doubles team of Astrid Cardenas and Emma Watts went 0-2. 

The Joplin duo suffered a 6-0, 6-0 opening-round loss to St. Joseph Academy’s Elizabeth Choate and Isabella Hong. The St. Joseph Academy squad later advanced to the semifinals. 

In the consolation bracket, the Joplin pair lost to St. Teresa’s Academy’s Emma Bridges and Anne Marie Hotze 6-2, 6-4.

Cardenas and Watts finished their stellar season with a record of 26-3. Cardenas is a senior, while Watts is a junior. 



The Carl Junction Bulldogs had a doubles team and a singles player competing at the Class 2 state tourney. 

Carl Junction’s doubles team of Jenna Besperat and Nicole Sherwood went 0-2.

St. Pius X’s Kintzli Wagner and Megan Giffin defeated the Bulldogs 6-1, 6-2 in the opening round.

Besperat and Sherwood suffered a 6-2, 6-2 loss to Villa Duchesne’s Caroline Potter and Elizabeth Brown in the consolation bracket.

Sherwood is a senior, while Besperat is a sophomore.

In singles, Carl Junction freshman Naiyah Wurdeman went 0-2. 

In the first round, Jefferson City’s Sandhiya Baskar defeated Wurdeman 6-0, 6-0. In the consolation bracket, Ladue’s Saba Fajors defeated Wurdeman 6-1, 6-1.



Thomas Jefferson’s Allison Ding will take on Duchesne’s Mary Kathleen Beckemeier on Friday in an opening round match of the Class 1 singles tournament. 

Mount Vernon will have two doubles teams competing — Brooke Loftus-Jessah Anderson and Isabella Mosley-Allison Schubert.

GIRLS TENNIS: Joplin suffers district tourney loss


The Joplin High School girls tennis team competed as a group for the final time in 2021 on Monday night. 

Fifth-seeded Raymore-Peculiar defeated fourth-seeded Joplin 5-2 in a quarterfinal matchup of the Class 3 District 6 team tournament at the JHS athletic complex.

Raymore-Peculiar advanced to meet top-seeded Lee’s Summit West on Tuesday, while Joplin’s team season concluded. 

Joplin senior Astrid Cardenas hits a forehand during Monday’s district tournament at the JHS courts. All photos by Israel Perez.

Joplin won the No. 1 doubles match, as Astrid Cardenas and Emma Watts defeated Chantelle Sheldon and Sarah Jenson 8-1.

“Astrid and Emma have been playing really good tennis, especially for the last two weeks particularly,” Joplin coach Jeff Williams said. “They played well again tonight. They led the way for sure.”

At No. 2 doubles, Ray-Pec’s Shannon Finn and Isabella de Leon edged Joplin’s Abry Stayton and Mya Ndedi-Ntepe 8-6.

The visitors also won at No. 3 doubles, as Gabriela Vides and Naomi Ropp defeated Cloey Blank and Brynn Driver 8-5.

“We had some close matches in doubles, but we weren’t able to come out on top in those,” Williams noted. 

In singles action, Cardenas defeated Sheldon 6-3, 6-2.

In other completed singles matches, Raymore-Peculiar’s de Leon defeated Stayton 6-4, 6-3, Jenson beat Ndedi-Ntepe 6-2, 6-4 and Vides topped Blank 6-4, 6-2.

Joplin’s Mya Ndedi-Ntepe lunges to return a volley during Monday’s district tournament at JHS.

The dual ended as soon as Raymore-Peculiar reached five wins, so Watts and Driver did not complete their singles matches. 

Williams noted his team’s seniors will be missed. He added the Eagles improved this fall.

“Cloey Blank played her final match tonight,” Williams said of the senior. “Of course Astrid is also a senior and she’ll play next week at state. But we’ve had good senior leadership this season. I think all of the girls got progressively better throughout the season and I think they had a good time, too. Overall, our team got better as the year progressed and that’s what you want to see.” 

Although the team season is now over for the Eagles, Joplin’s doubles team of Cardenas and Watts will compete at next week’s individual state tournament in Springfield. 

In another district quarterfinal, sixth-seeded Carthage suffered a season-ending 5-0 loss to third-seeded Lee’s Summit. Lee’s Summit advanced to play No. 2 Lee’s Summit North in the other semifinal. 


Joplin’s Abry Stayton hits a forehand during her singles match against Raymore-Peculiar on Monday. All photos by Israel Perez.


Emma Watts serves during doubles play on Monday against Raymore-Peculiar. Watts and Astrid Cardenas won their doubles match 8-1.


Joplin’s Brynn Driver hits a backhand during Monday’s district tournament matchup against Raymore-Peculiar.


Joplin senior Cloey Blank returns a serve during her singles match against Raymore-Peculiar on Monday night at the JHS court.


Joplin’s Abry Stayton is pictured during Monday’s district tournament.

GIRLS TENNIS: Carl Junction trio advance to state tourney


Three players from Carl Junction High School have earned a spot at the state girls tennis tournament. 

The Carl Junction duo of Jenna Besperat and Nicole Sherwood finished first in the doubles bracket at the Class 2 District 6 tournament on Monday, securing a berth to next week’s state tourney in Springfield. 

The Bulldogs defeated Willard’s Kaytlyn Ibarra and Kristen Flynn  6-4, 6-3 in the championship match. The Tigers also qualified for state as the runner-up.

Carl Junction’s Naiyah Wurdeman also earned a state berth by finishing second in the singles bracket. Willard’s Alice Go was the district champion in singles, as she defeated Wurdeman 6-3, 6-2 in the title match. 

The Class 2 state singles and doubles tournament begins on Oct. 14 in Springfield.



Neosho’s doubles teams suffered first-round losses at the Class 2 District 6 tournament on Monday.

Neosho’s Jasmine Martinez and Georgia Housh suffered a 6-3, 2-6, 10-8 loss to Johnson and Perez of Parkview.

Neosho’s Lyndsey Doke and Alex Olsbo lost to Webb City’s Kinzlea Smith and Walker Hoffman 6-1, 6-0.

The Wildcats did not have an entrant in singles. 



The Class 2 District 6 district team tournament begins at 4:30 on Tuesday. 

No. 5 Neosho is at No. 4 Parkview, while No. 3 Webb City hosts No. 6 Hillcrest at the Joplin Athletic Complex. 

The Neosho-Parkview winner meets No. 1 Willard on Wednesday, while No. 2 Carl Junction awaits either Webb City or Hillcrest.

GIRLS TENNIS: Joplin doubles team repeats as COC champions


Seconds after the game-winning point was secured, and after a couple of celebratory screams, Astrid Cardenas and Emma Watts shared a long embrace on the court. 

For the pair of Joplin Eagles, it was a moment worth celebrating. 

Joplin’s Cardenas and Watts repeated as Central Ozark Conference champions at No. 1 doubles on Wednesday at the JHS courts. 

“It feels awesome to repeat,” Cardenas said. “This is my last year and it’s been so much fun. And I’m really proud of us. We’ve been playing really well. We keep each other lifted all the time. We always stay positive on the court.”

Cardenas, a senior, and Watts, a junior, went 3-0 on the day to capture a second straight COC crown in the top doubles bracket.

Joplin’s Astrid Cardenas hits a volley at the net during the championship match of the No. 1 doubles bracket on Wednesday afternoon at JHS. Photos by Jason Peake.

The JHS tandem not only repeated as conference champs, but also remained undefeated this fall.

Cardenas and Watts are now 23-0 in doubles matches. 

“We feel great and I’m glad we got to do it together,” Watts said. “We came back really strong this year, especially after I came back from my back injury. Our goal now is to medal at state.” 

Cardenas and Watts defeated Webb City’s Shelby Ensminger and Brynlee Hollingsworth 8-0 in the quarterfinals and then defeated Nixa’s Arabella Cosgrove and Abigail Fulnecky 8-1 in the semifinals. 

In the bracket’s championship match, the Eagles defeated Republic’s Abigail McCord and Morgan Lewis 8-3.

Emma Watts hits a forehand winner during No. 1 doubles play on Wednesday at Joplin High School. Watts and Astrid Cardenas repeated as COC champs at No. 1 doubles.

“We’re really happy for them to be conference champions again and we’re just really proud of them,” Joplin coach Jeff Williams said. “They’re healthy right now, they work really well together, they’ve gotten better and I know they’re looking forward to the postseason.”

“We had a good showing from Astrid and Emma today,” JHS assistant coach Richard Perry said. “They had some rematches today, which can be really tough when you won previously because there is the expectation for you to win again. We saw that today with our other girls who had a tough day, losing to previous opponents that they beat. Astrid and Emma were able to overcome that pressure, as they have all year, to take away another gold medal for their collections. They out-performed their previous matches by winning by even bigger margins than they did the first time. They are on a hot streak and can go into districts on Friday feeling really good. Our goal now is to take all of the experience they’ve gained this year and to be able to handle any situation their opponents could throw their way.”

In the third-place match of the No. 1 doubles bracket, Nixa’s Cosgrove and Fulnecky edged Carthage’s Kianna Yates and Daniela Marquez 8-6.

For fifth-place, Carl Junction’s duo of Jenna Besperat and Nicole Sherwood beat Branson’s Chase Carlin and Sylvie Barbour 6-1.

Webb City’s Ensmiger and Hollingsworth went 2-2, beating Ozark and Neosho and falling to Joplin and Carl Junction. 

Neosho’s Jasmine Martinez and Alexandra Olsbo went 0-2, with losses to Willard and Webb City. 



Carl Junction’s Naiyah Wurdeman and Emmy Higgins took third place at No. 2 doubles, beating Ozark’s Margaret Kensinger and Madison Morgan 9-7.

In the fifth-place match, Joplin’s Cloey Blank and Brynn Driver defeated Branson’s Brooklyn Buxton and Avery Webber 6-0.

Webb City’s Ally Ansley and Walker Hoffman went 2-2, beating Carthage and Neosho and falling to Republic and Joplin. 

Carthage’s Anayansi Lopez and Beverly Garcia and Neosho’s Georgia Housh and Keely Keeton went 0-2. 

Republic defeated Willard 8-1 in the bracket’s title match. 



Pictured is Webb City’s Kirsalyn Hood.

Webb City’s Kirsalyn Hood was the top local finisher at No. 1 singles. Hood won the fifth-place match by beating Ozark’s Hannah Metcalf 6-4.

Hood lost to Branson’s Andrea Fuentes 8-4 in the quarterfinals and earned wins over Carthage’s Katie Barton and Joplin’s Abry Stayton, both by scores of 6-4. 

Joplin’s Stayton suffered a pair of close losses. Willard’s Alice Go edged Stayton 8-6 in the quarterfinals before Webb City’s Hood got past Stayton 6-4. 

Carl Junction’s Valeria Alamina-Poor went 2-2, while Carthage’s Barton and Neosho’s Sydnee Minton both went 0-2. 

Republic’s Elsie Crawford defeated Willard’s Go 8-1 in the championship match, while Branson’s Fuentes beat Nixa’s Ellie Sorgenfrei 8-3 for third place. 




Webb City’s Kinzlea Smith defeated Carl Junction’s Alyssa Graves 6-2 in the fifth-place match at No. 2 singles. 

Joplin’s Mya Ndedi-Ntepe, Neosho’s Lauren Nageotte and Carthage’s Lynnd Guerra all went 0-2. 

Republic’s Jasmine Howard won the No. 2 singles bracket by beating Branson’s Madelyn Volz 8-3.

For third, Nixa’s Samantha Fulnecky defeated Willard’s Gracie Chunn 8-4. 


NOTE: Republic won the COC team championship by going 9-0 in conference duals during the regular season.



Local squads will compete at individual district tournaments on Friday. 


Joplin’s Abry Stayton lines up a backhand during No. 1 singles play on Wednesday at the COC Tournament.


Pictured is Webb City’s Kinzlea Smith. Smith took fifth at No. 2 singles.


Joplin’s Emma Watts and Astrid Cardenas celebrate a point during the championship match of the No. 1 doubles bracket on Wednesday.


Carl Junction’s Alyssa Graves serves during Wednesday’s COC Tournament at Joplin High School.


GIRLS TENNIS: Joplin earns Senior Night win over Neosho


The Joplin High School girls tennis team sent its seniors out with a win, as the Eagles defeated Neosho 9-0 on Tuesday at the JHS courts. 

The team’s seniors, Astrid Cardenas, Cloey Blank and Madi Corl, were recognized.

“Our seniors are all going to be missed,” JHS assistant coach Richard Perry said. “While we were saying goodbye to our seniors, we also got a chance to get matches for our younger girls that want to take the spots they are leaving open.” 

In doubles, Joplin’s Cardenas and Emma Watts defeated Neosho’s Jasmine Martinez and Lyndsey Doke 8-0 to remain unbeaten.

“Astrid and Emma improved to 20-0 on the season in doubles tonight with a convincing win,” Perry said. “I sat them out of singles to get some of our other girls some experience and it lets them rest some before the conference tournament tomorrow.”

At No. 2 doubles, Blank and Brynn Driver beat Alexandra Olsbo and Georgia Housh 8-1, while Jadyn Elder and Alex Carson defeated Keely Keeton and Sydnee Minton 8-0 at No. 3 doubles.

“Alex and Jadyn have been playing well together all season on JV, so I wanted to see how they would do with the extra pressure,” Perry said. “And they played lights out, not dropping a single game.”

In singles, Abry Stayton defeated Martinez 8-1, Mya Ndedi-Ntepe topped Doke 8-3 and Blank beat Oslbo 8-0. 

Driver defeated Housh 8-1, Corl defeated Keeton 8-4 and Zayda Derganc beat Minton 8-0.

“Abry played up to No. 1 tonight and did a great job getting the win,” Perry said. “Mya had a tough start at No. 2 but she was able to pull away after getting up 4-3. Cloey and Brynn did great in both of their matches. Cloey was able to get a solid win at No. 3 which was great for her on Senior Night. Brynn played the highest spot on the team that she has ever had to at No. 4, but she handled the pressure amazingly. Madi got her first varsity singles win tonight. Zayda had a great match today, also getting her first varsity singles win tonight.”

The Central Ozark Conference tournament is slated for Wednesday at JHS. 


GIRLS TENNIS: Joplin wins 10-team Bird-Dog Classic; Cavaliers claim singles titles

With a top-five showing in all four divisions, including a first-place finish at No. 1 doubles, the Joplin High School girls tennis team captured the team championship at the Bird-Dog Classic on Friday at the Joplin Athletic Complex.

There were 10 teams in attendance at the event. Joplin finished with 17.5 points to take first, while Staley was the runner-up with 17. Willard (15) finished third, while Thomas Jefferson was fourth (14.5) and Carl Junction (12.5) finished fifth. 

Joplin’s Astrid Cardenas and Emma Watts won the No. 1 doubles bracket, while teammates Cloey Blank and Brynn Driver finished third at No. 2 doubles.

Joplin’s Abry Stayton placed third at No. 1 singles, while Mya Ndedi-Ntepe finished fifth at No. 2 singles.

“Today was a great day for the Lady Eagles,” Joplin assistant coach Richard Perry said. “There was some tough competition and the girls played their hearts out. Overall, the team did amazing and it’s nice to get these victories going into an important week with some tough conference matches.”

Thomas Jefferson crowned champions in both singles brackets, as Allison Ding won the No. 1 singles bracket and Jeanna Jeyaraj was the champ at No. 2 singles.

Joplin’s Emma Watts hits a forehand winner during doubles play on Friday at the Bird-Dog Classic. Watts and Astrid Cardenas won the No. 1 doubles bracket. Photo by Jason Peake.


Joplin’s Astrid Cardenas hits a volley at the net during doubles action on Friday.

Joplin’s duo of Cardenas and Watts did not drop a game in three matches. 

After a first-round bye, the Eagles defeated Webb City’s Kinzlea Smith and Kirsalyn Hood 8-0 and then beat Mount Vernon’s Bella Mosley and Vicki Moore 8-0 in the semifinals. 

In the title match, Cardenas and Watts defeated Carl Junction’s Jenna Besperat and Nicole Sherwood 8-0.

“Astrid and Emma tore through their doubles bracket,” Perry said. “They have really been in a groove since last week and have played near flawless doubles in all of their matches this week.”

CJ’s Besperat and Sherwood beat Thomas Jefferson’s Kyla Yang and Jessica Joseph 8-3 and topped Staley’s Carli Hurtt and Kaitlyn Montemayor 8-4 in the semifinals. 

Mount Vernon’s Mosley and Moore took third place. Carthage’s Kianna Yates and Daniela Marquez won the fifth-place match 6-3 over Willard’s Kaytelyn Ibarra and Kristen Flynn.



Staley’s Breanne Garstang and Serena Dalton won the No. 2 doubles bracket by beating Mount Vernon’s Jessa Anderson and Molly Burk 8-6.

In the third-place match, Joplin’s Blank and Driver defeated Willard’s Evie Sly and Alyssa Flynn 7-5.

“Brynn and Cloey also had an important match for third against Willard that would have been a two-point swing,” Perry said. “They battled hard in a back and forth bout to earn a solid victory.”

Blank and Driver defeated Carthage’s Anayansi Lopez and Beverly Garcia 8-5 and then came up short, 9-7, in the semifinals to Staley. 

College Heights’ Ella Bishop and Jeanna Smathers took fifth place by beating Carl Junction’s Emmy Higgins and Alyssa Graves 6-3.



Thomas Jefferson’s Ding defeated Mount Vernon’s Allie Schubert 8-1 and then topped Carl Junction’s Naiyah Wurdeman 8-1 in the semifinals. 

Ding knocked off Willard’s Alice Go 8-5 in the title match. 

Joplin’s Stayton defeated Monett’s Meagan Hull 8-1 and then suffered an 8-3 setback to Willard’s Go in the semifinals. 

For third-place, Stayton defeated CJ’s Wurdeman 6-3.

“Abry played in the toughest bracket of the day and came out with a medal,” Perry said. “She had a tough loss the night before but has decided to rise up to the challenge and has played like she has something to prove.”

Wurdeman edged College Heights’ Jem Kionasala 9-7 to advance to the semifinals. 

Thomas Jefferson’s Allison Ding hits a forehand during singles play at the Bird-Dog Classic. Ding won the No. 1 singles bracket. Photo by Jason Peake.


Thomas Jefferson’s Jeyaraj defeated Ndedi-Ntepe 8-0 and College Heights’ Natalie Brueggemann in the semifinals. Jeyaraj topped Staley’s Bree Keavene 8-2 in the title match. 

Ndedi-Ntepe defeated Monett’s Sofia Semerad 6-1 for fifth-place. 

“Mya got the team some much needed wins, going through the consolation bracket to get the team the points it needed to take home the trophy,” Perry noted. 



Team standings: Joplin 17.5, Staley 17, Willard 15, Thomas Jefferson 14.5, Carl Junction 12.5, Mount Vernon 12, College Heights 11.5, Monett 6.5, Webb City 5.5, Carthage 5.


Carl Junction’s Naiyah Wurdeman prepares to hit a backhand during her match against Thomas Jefferson’s Allison Ding on Friday at the Joplin Athletic Complex.


Thomas Jefferson’s Allison Ding won the No. 1 singles bracket on Friday at the Bird-Dog Classic at the Joplin Athletic Complex.


Joplin’s Emma Watts serves during doubles action on Friday at the Bird-Dog Classic.



The Joplin Eagles pose with the championship trophy after winning the Bird-Dog Classic. Pictured from left to right are Mya Ndedi-Ntepe, Brynn Driver, Astrid Cardenas, Emma Watts, Cloey Blank and Abry Stayton. The Eagles are coached by Jeff Williams and Richard Perry.

GIRLS TENNIS: Joplin drops COC match to Republic


A solid Republic squad handed Joplin an 8-1 loss on Thursday night in a Central Ozark Conference girls tennis dual at the JHS Athletic Complex.

Joplin’s lone win came at No. 1 doubles, as Astrid Cardenas and Emma Watts defeated Elsie Crawford and Mia Stan 8-1. 

At No. 2 doubles, Republic’s Abigail McCord and Morgan Lewis defeated Abry Stayton and Mya Ndedi-Ntepe 8-2, while Jasmine Howard and Isabelle Wells topped Cloey Blank and Brynn Driver 8-3 in the No. 3 doubles match.

In singles play, Crawford defeated Cardenas 8-2, Howard beat Watts 8-3 and McCord edged Stayton 9-7.

Lewis defeated Ndedi-Ntepe 8-4, Stan topped Blank 8-2 and Ashlyn Leonard nipped Driver 9-7.

“We had a tough match against a tough team,” Joplin assistant coach Richard Perry said. “Astrid and Emma did a great job getting their win tonight. Abry played hard in a close loss. She played some of the best tennis I’ve seen her play, doing a really good job raising her level to keep the match close. Brynn was the last match done and she played well under the pressure of a big crowd. Each point was hard-fought and intense. Now we have to get over this loss and move on to our tournament tomorrow.”

The Eagles will compete at the Bird-Dog Classic on Friday at the Joplin Athletic Complex.


GIRLS TENNIS: Joplin wins Thomas Jefferson invite; host Cavaliers take second


Led by first-place showings in both doubles brackets, the Joplin High School girls tennis team won the Thomas Jefferson Invitational on Friday.

The Eagles finished with 22 points, while the host Cavaliers were second with 17. North Kansas City took third with 12 points. Also competing were Carthage (9), Aurora (6.5), College Heights (5.5), Webb City (4.5) and Neosho (1).

“The ladies had a great outing today,” Joplin assistant coach Richard Perry said. “Everyone came prepared and focused, and it really showed. We were able to run through doubles with relative ease and that’s nice to see since that is such a focus for us at practice. When the girls are competitive and feel like they have something to prove then they can play with the best of them. Overall it was a great day and gives us some much-needed confidence going into next week.”

Joplin’s Emma Watts and Astrid Cardenas won the No. 1 doubles bracket by going 3-0. 

The Eagles defeated Neosho’s Jasmine Martinez-Alexandra Olsbo 8-0 in the first round,  North Kansas City’s Adele Merchant-Katreena Dinh 8-1 in the semifinals and Carthage’s Kianna Yates-Daniela Marquez 8-2 in the title match.

“Astrid and Emma came out of the gates swinging in the finals and played a much cleaner game against Carthage,” Perry said. “It was the type of win they knew they could have and wanted to prove it since they had a tougher time on Tuesday.”

Joplin’s No. 2 doubles team of Cloey Blank and Brynn Driver also took first place.

The Eagles defeated North Kansas City’s Esther Ko-Lilly Gerend 8-2 in the first round, handled Webb City’s Kylee Smith-Walker Hoffman 8-2 in the semifinals and then beat Thomas Jefferson’s Emily Ro-Warda Morsy 8-1 in the title match.

“Brynn and Cloey dominated at the net and played very well,” Perry commented. 

Also at No. 2 doubles, Aurora’s Emily Gearhart-Kloey Boyd beat Smith-Hoffman 8-3 for third. Carthage’s Cassidy Whitley-Lynnd Guerra dropped the fifth-place match to Ko-Gerend 8-2.

At No. 1 singles, Joplin’s Abry Stayton took third place. 

Stayton defeated Webb City’s Kirsalyn Hood 8-1, suffered an 8-0 setback to North Kansas City’s Sydney Fuger and then defeated College Heights Christian’s Jem Kionasala 8-3 for third place.

Perry noted Stayton simply ran into a stellar player in the semifinals.

“Abry had a tough opponent in the semis,” Perry said of Fuger. “It’s not everyday you get to play one of the top girls in the country. She battled hard against her and I think it really made her hungry for improvement.”

In the fifth-place match, Webb City’s Hood edged Neosho’s Claudia Martensen 8-6.

Joplin’s Mya Ndedi-Ntepe was the runner-up at No. 2 singles. She defeated Webb City’s Kinzlea Smith 8-3, topped College Heights’ Natalie Brueggemann 8-4 and then lost to Thomas Jefferson’s Jeanna Jeyaraj 8-5.

“Mya had an excellent outing,” Perry said. “I think she felt she had something to prove from last night. She had a decisive victory in the first round against the No. 3 seed. In the second match she had to hustle the whole time to find her victory. She had a lead in the finals, but her luck ran out. By the end she was dripping with sweat because she had to out-work every girl she played. She was a severe underdog going in, but she performed better than I even thought she could at times.”

Carthage’s Katie Barton won the third-place match 8-4 over Brueggemann, while Webb City’s Smith took fifth by beating Neosho’s Lydnsey Doke 8-1.



Thomas Jefferson’s Jeyaraj won the No. 2 singles bracket for her team’s lone first-place finish. 

After a first-round bye, Jeyaraj defeated Carthage’s Barton 8-1 in the semifinals and Ndedi-Ntepe 8-5 in the title match.

Thomas Jefferson’s Ding was the runner-up in the No. 1 singles bracket. After a first-round bye, Ding defeated College Heights’ Kionasala 8-1. In the title match, North Kansas City’s Fuger defeated Ding 8-0.  

At No. 1 doubles, Thomas Jefferson’s Kyla Yang-Jessica Joseph won the fifth-place match by beating College Heights Christian’s Hannah Bass-Avery Baker 8-3. The duo of Ro-Morsy took second at No. 2 doubles. 



No. 1 Singles

First round matches

Kionasala (CHC) def. Martensen (NEO) 8-0; Fuger (NKC) def. Lopez (CAR) 8-0; Stayton (JOP) def. Hood (WC) 8-1.


Hood def. Lopez 8-4; Hood def. Martensen 8-6.


Ding (TJ) def. Kionasala 8-1; Fuger def. Stayton 8-0.

Third Place

Stayton def. Kionasala 8-3.

Title Match

Fuger def. Ding 8-0.


No. 2 Singles

First round matches

Barton (CAR) def. Doke (NEO) 8-1; Brueggemann (CHC) def. Skaggs (NKC) 9-8 (7-5); Ndedi-Ntepe (JOP) def. Smith (WC) 8-3.


Smith def. Skaggs 8-6; Smith def. Doke 8-1.


Jeyaraj (TJ) def. Barton 8-2; Ndedi-Ntepe def. Brueggemann 8-4.

Third Place

Barton def. Brueggemann 8-4.

Title Match

Jeyaraj def. Ndedi-Ntepe 8-5.


No. 1 Doubles

First round matches

Watts-Cardenas (JOP) def. Martinez-Olsbo (NEO) 8-0; Merchant-Dinh (NKC) def. Bass-Baker (CHC) 8-6; Yates-Marquez (CAR) def. Hollingsworth-Ensminger (WC) 8-0; Ray-Bradley (AUR) def. Yang-Joseph (TJ) 9-8 (11-9).

Consolation Bracket

Bass-Baker def. Martinez-Olsbo 8-2; Yang-Joseph def. Hollingsworth-Ensminger 8-5; Yang-Joseph def. Bass-Baker 8-3.


Watts-Cardenas def. Merchant-Dinh 8-1; Yates-Marquez def. Ray-Bradley 8-1.

Third Place

Merchant-Dinh def. Ray-Bradley 8-4.

Title Match

Watts-Cardenas def. Yates-Marquez 8-2.


No. 2 Doubles

First round matches

Gearhart-Boyd (AUR) def. Whitley-Guerra (CAR) 8-4; Ro-Morsy (TJ) def. Keeton-Martensen (NEO) 8-2; Smith-Hoffman (WC) def. Bishop-Smathers (CHC) 9-7; Blank-Driver (JOP) def. Ko-Gerend (NKC) 8-2.


Whitley-Guerra def. Keeton-Martensen 8-5; Ko-Gerend def. Bishop-Smathers 8-4; Ko-Gerend def. Whitley-Guerra 8-2.


Ro-Morsy def. Gearhart-Boyd 8-3; Blank-Driver def. Smith-Hoffman 8-2.

Third Place

Gearhart-Boyd def. Smith-Hoffman 8-3.

Title Match

Blank-Driver def. Ro-Morsy 8-1.

GIRLS TENNIS: Host Joplin Eagles take second at dual tourney


The host Eagles finished second at the Joplin Duals Invitational girls tennis tournament on Friday.

Springfield Central took first, followed by Joplin, Webb City and College Heights.

The Eagles earned wins over Webb City and College Heights and suffered a loss to Central. 

“It was a long day and the girls were able to play all day without much issue,” JHS assistant coach Richard Perry said. “Overall, we achieved all of our goals we set for ourselves for the day. Now we have to take the long weekend to rest and prepare for next week.”

Joplin’s Emma Watts hits a forehand during Friday’s match with Springfield Central at the JHS courts. Photo by Jason Peake.

In the team’s first dual of the day, Joplin defeated Webb City 6-1.

The Eagles won two of three doubles matches. 

Joplin’s Astrid Cardenas and Emma Watts defeated Kinzlea Smith 6-2, while Abry Stayton and Brynn Driver beat Ally Ansley and Shelby Ensminger 6-1.

Webb City’s Walker Hoffman and Kaylee Smith defeated Mya Ndedi-Ntepe and Madi Corl 6-1 at No. 3 doubles.

In completed singles matches, Watts beat Kirsalyn Hood 6-0, Cardenas topped Kinzlea Smith 6-0, Stayton defeated Ensminger 6-1 and Driver beat Ansley 6-2. 

Joplin’s Abry Stayton hits a volley at the net during a doubles match against Springfield Central on Friday. Photo by Jason Peake.

Next, a solid Springfield Central squad defeated Joplin 6-1.

Joplin’s lone win came at No. 1 doubles, as Watts and Cardenas defeated Brett Boney and Allie German 6-3.

Central’s Elana Hadi-Annie German edged Stayton and Driver 6-4, while Kate Steingraber-Molly Scribner topped Ndedi-Ntepe and Corl 6-1.

In singles, Allie German edged Watts 7-5, Boney defeated Cardenas 6-3, Hadi topped Stayton 6-2 and Joya Pradhan beat Corl 6-0.

In the team’s final dual of the day, Joplin defeated College Heights 5-2.

In doubles, Watts-Cardenas defeated Jem Kionisala and Natalie Brueggemann 6-1.

The Cougars won the other two doubles matches, as Hannah Bass and Avery Baker nipped Stayton-Driver 7-5 and Jeanna Smathers and Ella Bishop topped Ndedi-Ntepe and Corl 6-1. 

In singles play, Cardenas defeated Bass 6-0, Stayton beat Brueggemann 6-0, Ndedi-Ntepe got past Bishop 6-3 and Driver beat Smathers 6-1.

Coach Perry noted there were several positives for the Eagles. 

“Astrid and Emma won all of their doubles matches together, it was good for them to get back into the swing of things,” Perry said. “Abry and Brynn played really well in all of their matches, coming up just short in two of the doubles. They were able to be solid for us in singles today, clinching two wins each. Mya and Madi are growing with each match they play, which is what I like to see with the newer players.”



Webb City defeated College Heights 5-1.

College Heights won the No. 1 doubles match, as Kionisala and Brueggemann edged Kinzlea Smith and Brynlee Hollingsworth 7-6 (7-4 tie-breaker).

In other doubles matches, Webb City’s Ensminger-Ansley beat Bass-Baker 6-4 and Hoffman-Kaylee Smith defeated Smathers-Bishop 6-3.

In singles, Kinzlea Smith defeated Bass 7-6 (7-4), Ansley beat Smathers 6-4 and Hoffman defeated Baker 6-3.

In the two other duals, Central earned 5-0 wins over both College Heights and Webb City.

GIRLS TENNIS: Cavaliers improve to 2-0 with win over Nevada


The Thomas Jefferson girls tennis team defeated Nevada 6-3 on Thursday at the TJ courts. 

The Cavaliers improved to 2-0.

In singles action, Thomas Jefferson’s Allison Ding defeated Laura Kimmell 8-3, while Jeanna Jeyaraj beat Hailey Elkinton 8-5 and Kyla Yang topped Susannah Kimmell 8-2.

Nevada’s Alissa Stutesman edged Jessica Joseph 9-7, TJ’s Warda Morsy defeated Abbigale Baldwin 8-6 and Nevada’s Kourtnee Vestal topped Emalee Ro 8-3.

In doubles, Ding-Jeyaraj defeated Elkinton-S. Kimmell 8-2, while Yang-Joseph beat L. Kimmell-Baldwin 9-8 (7-4). Nevada’s Stutesman-Vestal edged Morsy-Ro 9-7. 

Tom Brumfield’s Cavaliers will take on College Heights at 4:30 on Tuesday at the Joplin Athletic Complex.

GIRLS TENNIS: Despite solid effort, Joplin suffers close loss to Branson

Emma Watts returned to the lineup and made an immediate impact in doubles, but the Joplin Eagles suffered a 5-4 setback to Branson on Thursday at the JHS courts. 

A junior returning state-qualifier, Watts has missed the team’s previous early-season action due to an injury. 

On Thursday, Watts teamed up with senior Astrid Cardenas in No. 1 doubles. The Eagles’ duo defeated Branson’s Andrea Fuentes and Madelyn Volz 8-0. 

“This was Emma’s first match back, we just played her in doubles to ease her in and it went great,” Joplin assistant coach Richard Perry said.   

The Pirates won the other two doubles matches.  

Branson’s Chase Carlin and Sylvie Barbour defeated Abry Stayton and Brynn Driver 8-3 at No. 2 doubles, while Brooklyn Buxton and Avery Webber topped Mya Ndedi-Ntepe and Madi Corl 8-4 at No. 3 doubles.  

Joplin won three singles matches. 

At No. 1 singles, Cardenas defeated Fuentez 8-4. 

“Astrid had to battle hard in her singles match, but was able to pull ahead after a back-and-forth start,” Perry noted. 

At No. 2 singles, Joplin’s Stayton edged Volz 9-7.  

“Abry was behind the whole match until the very end where she was able to find an opening and take it,” Perry said of the sophomore.  

At No. 3 singles, Ndedi-Ntepe earned a 9-8 (7-2 tie-breaker) win over Carlin. 

“Mya played fantastic in a tough match where she had to play two spots higher,” Perry noted. “She had a match point against her but was able to turn on the heat when the pressure mounted. Once she got in the tie-breaker she went off and was able to cruise to an easy 7-2 finish.” 

In other singles matches, Branson’s Barbour topped Driver 8-3, Buxton defeated Corl 8-4 and Webber beat Alex Carson 8-0. 

Perry said he and head coach Jeff Williams were definitely pleased with the team’s effort. 

“I’m very proud about how hard the girls are fighting while down multiple players,” Perry said, noting that Cloey Blank was out sick on Thursday. “When we all get healthy, I think we will be a scary team.” 

Joplin is hosting an invite on Friday. Webb City, College Heights and Springfield Central are also competing at the event, which begins at 10 a.m. at the JHS athletic complex. 

GIRLS TENNIS: Joplin earns home win over Webb City

In a closely-contested girls tennis dual, Joplin edged Webb City 5-4 on Tuesday at the JHS athletic complex.

The Eagles took two of three doubles matches to start the night.

Joplin’s Cloey Blank returns a serve during Tuesday’s match with Webb City. Photos by Jason Peake.

At No. 1 doubles, Joplin’s Astrid Cardenas and Abry Stayton defeated Kinzlea Smith and Brynlee Hollingsworth 8-1.

At No. 2 doubles, Joplin’s Cloey Blank and Brynn Driver topped Shelby Ensminger and Ally Ansley 8-4.

Webb City’s Walker Hoffman and Kaylee Smith defeated Madi Corl and Mya Ndedi-Ntepe 8-5 at No. 3 doubles.

Webb City’s Shelby Ensminger hits a backhand against Joplin on Tuesday.

The Eagles and Cardinals split six singles matches. 

At No. 1 singles, Cardenas defeated Kirsalyn Hood 8-0, while Stayton topped Kinzlea Smith 8-3 at No. 2 singles. 

Ensminger defeated Blank 8-4 at No. 3 singles, while Hollingsworth beat Ndedi-Ntepe 8-3 at No. 4.

Driver defeated Ansley 8-3 at No. 5 singles and Webb City’s Hoffman beat Corl 8-0 at No. 6 singles. 

Joplin coach Jeff Williams noted the Eagles are currently playing without Emma Watts, as the returning state qualifier is out of action due to an injury. 

Both teams are back in action on Thursday, as Joplin (1-4) hosts Branson (0-2) and Webb City (0-2) hosts Ozark (2-3).


Joplin’s Brynn Driver hits a forehand winner against Webb City during No. 2 doubles play.


Webb City’s Ally Ansley hits a forehand during No. 2 doubles play against Joplin on Tuesday.


GIRLS TENNIS: Neosho drops match to Republic


Neosho’s girls tennis squad suffered a 9-0 loss to Republic on Tuesday. 

In singles matches, Neosho’s Claudia Martensen lost to Isabelle Wells 8-0, Jasmine Martinez lost to  Ashlyn Leonard 8-0 and Alexandra Olsbo lost to  Taylor Massey 8-0.

Lyndsey Doke suffered an 8-3 loss to  Caydie Imbeau, Cadence Martensen dropped an 8-0 decision to Mari Davidson and Sydnee Minton lost to  Grace Replogle 8-0.

In doubles, Claudia Martensen-Martinez lost to  Wells-Imbeau 8-1, Olsbo-Doke suffered an 8-0 setback to Leonard-Massey and Cadence Martensen-Minton lost to Davidson-Monica Henry  8-0.

Neosho (0-2) will host Willard on Thursday. 

GIRLS TENNIS: Thomas Jefferson edges Joplin


Thomas Jefferson edged Joplin 5-4 in a girls tennis dual on Monday at the TJ courts.

The Eagles won two of three doubles matches.

At No. 1 doubles, Joplin’s Astrid Cardenas and Abry Stayton defeated Allison Ding and Jeanna Jeyaraj 8-1.

Thomas Jefferson’s Kyla Yang and Jessica Joseph defeated Cloey Blank and Mya Ndedi-Ntepe 8-3 at No. 2 doubles.

Joplin won the No. 3 doubles match, as Brynn Driver and Madi Corl beat Warda Morsy and Emalee Ro 8-2. 

The Cavaliers won four of the six singles matches. 

At No. 1 singles, Ding defeated Cardenas 8-3. Joplin’s Stayton beat Jeyaraj 8-3 at No. 2 singles, while Yang defeated Blank 8-4 at No. 3 singles.

TJ’s Joseph beat Ndedi-Ntepe 8-3 at No. 4 singles, but Joplin’s Driver defeated Morsy 8-5 at No. 5 singles.

“Brynn was able to rally back from a 1-5 deficit,” JHS assistant coach Richard Perry said. “It was nice seeing her play well after being sidelined from a knee injury all summer.” 

At No. 6 singles, TJ’s Ro beat Corl 8-2.

Joplin hosts Webb City at 4:30 on Tuesday, while Thomas Jefferson will host Nevada on Thursday.  

In another dual on Monday, College Heights defeated Webb City 5-4.

GIRLS TENNIS: Neosho features two returning starters, young squad in ’21


Senior Jasmine Martinez and junior Claudia Martensen are expected to lead the way for the Neosho High School girls tennis team in 2021.

Both of those players gained varsity experience last season and should be key performers this fall. Martinez was part of Neosho’s No. 2 doubles team last year, while Martensen was playing No. 2 singles at the conclusion of the 2020 season. 

Neosho’s biggest loss to graduation was Michelle Lindsay, who played No. 1 singles. 

Wildcats coach Nick Hays noted the team is very young this season, with a large sophomore class likely playing a key role.

Martinez, Dalia Maldonado and Alexandra Olsbo are the lone seniors on the roster. Claudia Martensen is the lone junior.

Sophomores on the team are Lyndsey Doke, Alyssa Evey, Georgia Housh, Cadence Martensen, Sydnee Minton and Lauren Nageotte.

Freshmen listed on the roster are Keely Keeton and Emily Papen. 

The Wildcats, 0-14 in 2020, host Aurora on Aug. 30 to open the season

GIRLS TENNIS: Returning state qualifiers Cardenas, Watts will lead Joplin this fall

Astrid Cardenas and Emma Watts were the Joplin area’s top girls tennis players in 2020.

And now they’re back for more. 

In a stellar fall campaign for the Joplin Eagles, Cardenas and Watts captured the No. 1 doubles crown at the Central Ozark Conference tournament, took second place at the Class 3 District 6 tournament and then advanced to the consolation quarterfinals of the state tournament.

“We were very pleased with them and they fell just short of being on the medal stand (at state),” Joplin coach Jeff Williams said. “I know they feel they should have been on the medal stand last year. I know they’d love to do that this year. We’re confident Astrid and Emma are going to be two really solid players for us again this year. And hopefully they can be two of the top players in the state.” 

Joplin’s Emma Watts and Astrid Cardenas.

As a doubles team, Cardenas and Watts went 15-7 last season, but they were 14-3 after both players returned to action from injury or illness. 

A back injury plagued Cardenas throughout her junior season, while an illness kept Watts out of action temporarily during her sophomore campaign.

Will Cardenas and Watts form a formidable doubles team again this fall?

“They’ve talked about it,” Joplin assistant coach Richard Perry said. “We’ll see. We’ll see how everyone is playing and we’ll put everyone in the best position possible to go the furthest for the team.” 

Now a senior, Cardenas represented Joplin at the state tennis tournament for the second straight season in 2020. 

Williams noted it may take Cardenas some time to get back into form this fall. 

“Astrid is coming off a summer injury that held her back for several weeks, so we’ll see how fast she progresses from that,” Williams said. “We’re hoping she can have a successful senior year.” 

Williams and Perry both noted Watts put in a lot of time and effort towards improving her tennis skills over the summer. With that, the JHS coaching staff expects Watts to have a stellar junior season.

“Emma played a lot of tennis and hit the weight room this summer,” Perry said of Watts, who went 7-3 in singles matches last season. “She’s gotten stronger and I think she’s going to roll right into this season.”

Cardenas and Watts aren’t the only Eagles on this year’s roster with prior varsity experience. 

Senior Cloey Blank was in last year’s starting lineup and is expected to play a big role this season. Junior Brynn Driver is another player who earned varsity experience last fall. Jensen Vowels earned varsity playing time last year as a sophomore, but she’s currently unable to compete after having knee surgery. 

As far as newcomers, sophomore Abry Stayton is a player who has impressed the coaching staff.

“Abry is a very good athlete and we look forward to her doing some good things for us,” Williams said. 

Mya Ndedi-Ntepe, also a sophomore, is another player who could contribute at the varsity level. 

“She’s been putting in a lot of work,” Perry noted. 

The Eagles had 17 athletes in attendance at Monday’s first practice, five more than last year’s opening day. 

The team will soon be holding challenge matches which will ultimately decide the varsity lineup.

“We have some newcomers who are in the mix, so we’ll see what happens,” Williams said. 

“We have some open spots and those will go to whoever fights the hardest for them,” Perry said. 

The Eagles are scheduled to open the season at Thomas Jefferson on Aug. 30. Joplin’s home opener is one night later against Webb City. 

Also of note, the coaching staff has added several junior varsity events to this year’s schedule in order to get the younger players more valuable experience. 

“Hopefully that will pay off and hopefully the program is on the rise,” Williams said. 


JHS Girls Tennis Schedule – Joplin Athletics