Log in

Kitchin and Morris stay perfect while winning Branson Doubles Tournament title


BRANSON — As Ozark shuffled through its first few pre-season practices in March, Connor Kitchin quickly concluded he hoped to team up with Luke Morris in doubles for his senior season.

“I saw his serves and net game and I was like, 'That's the doubles partner I want,’” Kitchin said.

Kitchin and Morris indeed were paired together and are off to an undefeated start at No. 1 doubles for Ozark. Their blazing success through the season’s first two weeks culminated in a championship at the Branson Doubles Tournament on Friday.

Kitchin and Morris swept all five of their matches.

Earlier in the week, Kitchin and Morris led the Tigers to a 6-3 victory versus Nixa.

"It's been a good week,” Kitchin said. “We’ve been playing good.”

Kitchin and Morris engaged in a compelling showdown against Platte County’s No. 1 doubles team in the title tilt at Branson. Kitchin and Morris were trailing 5-4, before winning the next two games and eventually pulling out a 7-6 (5-1) triumph.

“There was some pressure, especially when we were down 5-4 and had to get it to 5-all,” Kitchin said. “We clutched up on a few points.”

As the drama of the match unfolded, more and more onlookers from other schools checked out the action. By the end of the match, there were more eyes on Kitchin and Morris than any match they’ve ever played.

“That was pretty exciting,” Morris said. “The cheering was awesome. Every time we won a point everyone was yelling.”

The speed of Kitchin and Morris ultimately won out against the taller Platte County duo.

“I'm really fast,” Morris said. “We were moving around the court and getting the (ball) to places they weren’t."

Kitchin and Morris feel their style of play complements each other.

“We both like to move in and be aggressive,” Kitchin said. 

“We've got the same playing style, that helps a lot,” Morris said. “We have similar strokes and serve types.”

During their comeback, Kitchin and Morris had to overcome a double-fault. They didn’t let the miscue weigh on their minds for long.

“It was pretty hard to get through that,” Morris said. “Sometimes, you can analyze your shots and figure out what is wrong.”

“When we miss a shot or double-fault, we know we’ve got to shake it off,” Kitchin said.

They feel their even-keel mindset makes for a winning approach.

“I try to hype him up, but we’re both not that emotional,” Kitchin said.

“We've got a good relationship,” Morris said. “Connor has always got some good encouragement and tips.” 

In Ozark’s dual win against Nixa, Kitchin and Morris beat the Eagles’ Andrew Davis and Ronnie Lowry 8-4.

Kitchin won 8-1 at No. 1 singles and Morris prevailed 8-4 at No. 3 singles.

Ozark also received wins from Nicholas Psarev at No. 4 singles, Ashton Hitt at No. 5 singles and Hitt and Brett Hail at No. 3 doubles.

Nixa’s wins came from Alex Dollar at No. 2 singles, Blake Reynolds at No. 6 singles and Dollar and Junyoung Choi at No. 2 doubles.