Dawg Tennis opens Team Tennis season 2-0
By TJ MAXWELL
The Copperas Cove Team Tennis program kicked off their 2017 campaign with a pair wins over the Temple Wildcats and Killeen Kangaroos to head into today’s Centex Team Tennis Tournament hosted by the Bulldawgs.
The Dawgs edged out Temple by a score of 13-6 in the season opener Tuesday at Copperas Cove High School.
“There was much anticipation going into our first match of the season versus Temple,” Copperas Cove head tennis coach Paul Talbett said in an email. “On one hand we are returning seven out of nine boys from last year’s team and looking good with a great deal of experience. On the other hand we have a girls team in which we only have three out of nine girls returning from last year’s team.”
The boys’ side dominated winning seven of nine matches and forced the other two matches to come down to tie breaks.
The boys’ doubles duo of Noah Chapman and Jalen Nix made quick work of their opponents Swords/Swords winning 6-1, 6-3 and Gavin Glick/Nick Motley also notched a dominant win over Temple’s Horsak/Domingo 6-4, 6-2. Ari Diaz and Noah Samarripa also earned a straight-set win over Bhakta/Gamino 7-6(7), 6-2).
Chapman, Nix, Diaz and Samarippa also earned singles wins with tiebreaker victories.
The girls doubles team of Alyssa Gonzales and Abby Mackwelung swept their doubles opponents Cox/Cardenas 6-0, 6-3 while Telsa Mackwelung and Alex Peralta defeated Fernandez/Hancock 6-1, 7-5.
The mixed doubles duo of Ethan Hernandez/Paige Pudum also swept Thompkins/Haddock 6-2, 6-3 to take six of the seven doubles matches.
“I challenged the team to come out at least up 5-2 after doubles so we could get a solid lead going into singles and hopefully calm some of the nerves of our first match,” said Talbett. I also challenged our boys to come up with a sweep of a very good team from Temple with five boys capable of playing at a champ level.
“We came out of doubles up 6-1, including a sweep on the boys side and a win from mixed. We took 2 out of 3 on the girls’ side. We had strong performances from our no. 1 teams of Noah Chapman/Jalen Nix, and Alyssa Gonzalez/Abby Mackwelung.”
Gonzales, Zamira Manuel and Nadrena Redi also eanred singles wins over Temple’s Elizabeth Cardenas, Kennedy Cox and Taylor Haddock respectively, to round out the Dawgs’ 13 points in the match.
“Today was a positive start to our season, but we have found several areas in which we need to address and improve on before district begins in September,” said Talbett.
The Dawgs then took it to Killeen at home on Wednesday in a rescheduled contest due to Monday rains.
Coves won all but two singles matches and were only challenged in one other match when Chapman and Motley paired up to beat Killeen’s William Duran/Alex Blum Ramos in a tiebreaker 6-2, 4-6, (10-7).
“We came into today wondering where we were at as a team and we got several answers,” said Talbett. “Killeen was a tough match for us last year. We beat them 11 - 8 in district and their boys dominated ours in the match. Our girls carried the match. Killeen only lost three boys and two girls from last year’s team. With us only having three returning girls, we knew we would see where we were at as a team, and where we need to go as we get close to district.”
Besides dominating the boys’ doubles, the Cove boys also made easy work of the singles allowing just one opponent, John Michael Tran, to earn a win at 8-5. The Dawgs at least doubled up every other opponent by a score of 8-4 or better.
The Lady Dawgs had a similar road with just two close matches paired with three 8-3 wins.
“We came out aggressive, intense, and we had a great team tennis atmosphere going at the beginning of the match,” said Talbett. “We rode the momentum to carry 10 out of 12 matches in singles. We almost carried the two matches we lost to get a full sweep. Our boys came out 8-1, and our girls were 8-1. We also took the mixed doubles.
“Our returning spent the entire summer working hard every week. It showed today as we defeated a team that beat us easily last year 8-1 without our no. 2 boy. I am also proud of our girls who played much more aggressively in doubles to pull out 3 quick wins. We are not where we need to be, but they have shown they will fight, and they find a way to get wins for us. We saw great improvement from yesterday to today, but we still have a long way to go.”
Dawg Tennis will face Del Valle at 8:30 a.m. this morning (Friday) and will battled San Angelo Lakeview at 1:30 p.m. Cove will return to action against district rival Ellison at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday before playing in the placement round at 1:30 p.m.