By Joseph Garcia
And then there was one.
A lone tennis player will represent Liberty Hill High School in the Region IV Tournament in Corpus Christi April 16 and 19.
Junior Chesney Goza is coming off the 25-3A District Tournament a champion in the girls’ singles bracket. Now she is preparing for the next step and greater competition at the regional level.
Just like any team sport looking to make a deep playoff run, Goza is seemingly reaching her zenith at the right time after what she considers a mediocre regular season.
“The season was okay for me,” she said. “It wasn’t so great at the beginning. I got second in a couple tournaments, but I wasn’t playing that well, but that’s when I started practicing a lot more. In the beginning of March, I started to step up my game a little bit more.”
And by the time April rolled around, Goza appeared to be ready for what the post-season would bring.
Goza swept her opponent in the finals of the district tournament, not allowing a single set winning 6-0, 6-0.
She advanced last year in the girls’ singles bracket from the district tournament to regionals. But she said it was totally different because there wasn’t really any good competition for her. She said that’s changed a bit.
“One of the girls I played last year has really improved over the year,” she said. “She had beaten one of the girls I lost to, so I thought I had to get back into the swing of things and step it up for sure. It definitely felt good. I played an awesome match. That’s probably been my favorite moment of the season, just because I stayed focused throughout the whole match and played very well.”
Becoming the 2012 District 25-3A Girls’ Singles Champion was a special moment for Goza, but it was a loss she suffered this year that she will also remember because of a good friend.
After a match in which Goza felt she was on the wrong side of a few calls, senior Christian Bunting came to her aid for comfort only a friend can provide.
“I wasn’t too happy because I hadn’t played that well and I had gotten down to the end and the (chair umpire) made a few bad calls and I just kind of lost focus,” Goza explained. “So, after that he just kind of talked me down from being so mad. So, that was a good moment.”
As for her state of mind at the present moment, she feels a lot better than before the District Tournament. She said she can draw back on her regional experience from last year in Corpus Christi.
“It was a good experience,” Goza said. “But since Liberty Hill changes regions all the time, I didn’t get seeded last year. But I still managed to get fourth and actually played the girl who won state.”
Opponent parings for the Regional Tournament will not be released until the day before competition opens on April 15. But Liberty Hill tennis Coach Anthony Escobar is trying to prepare her to the fullest.
“He’s basically told me to keep focused and improve on certain little things he noticed in the district tournament,” Goza said. “The last match in district was one of the few matches that I’ve maintained good level of play throughout the match.”
Goza still has a full year of tennis to play at Liberty Hill. And as a junior, she still has time to figure out her tennis and academic future. But she said LeTourneau University would be a top choice for her.
“I will hopefully play for their team maybe,” she said. “But I haven’t received any official offers yet.”
Goza will offer up her first serve at the 3A Regional Tournament April 16 at the H.E.B. Tennis Center in Corpus Christi.