Mules to play for title

Friday, May 13, 2016

SIKESTON, Mo. -- The Mules ended three years of frustration Wednesday.

Poplar Bluff advanced to the MSHSAA Class 2 District 1 championship tennis match for the first time by beating Oakville 5-0.

The Tigers had ended Poplar Bluff's season in each of the last three years in the semifinal.

"Job half done," Mules coach Charles Harper said.

Poplar Bluff (11-2) will face second-seeded Farmington (11-3) for the title at 4 p.m. Friday in Sikeston.

The Knights, who beat Cape Central 5-1 in the other semifinal Wednesday, lost 6-3 to Poplar Bluff on March 31 in a match that used the district scoring format.

Farmington is the defending champion.

The win was just the second for the Mules in district team play since the format began in 2011. Oakville upset the top-seeded Mules last year 5-1 in the semifinal and in the semifinal the previous two seasons as the favorite.

On Wednesday, the Mules swept doubles play and got a pair of 6-1, 6-1 wins in singles to end the match.

Humza Siddiqui returned from a back injury and won his doubles match with Isaac Laseter 8-2 over Oakville's top-seeded pair.

Peyton Bradley and Eduardo Martinez also won their doubles match 8-2 while Ben Stewart and Greg Roberson edged Oakville's No. 3 doubles pair 8-5.

Laseter won the No. 2 singles match against David Knickmeyer 6-1, 6-1 while Bradley was a 6-1, 6-1 winner at No. 4 against Nick Proctor.

Poplar Bluff was leading in three other matches while the No. 1 seeds never got on the court.

Nepean was a game from closing out his No. 2 match, leading 6-3, 5-1, while Martinez led 6-2, 1-0 and Stewart was up 6-1, 2-1.

Poplar Bluff has never won a district title, finishing second in 2001 to advance to the state playoffs when the individual tournament determined a champion.

The individual tournament will be held at 9 a.m. Saturday in Farmington.

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