Liberty Hill tennis falls 10-9 to Copperas Cove

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Mackenzie Coleman keeps her eye on the ball as she returns it against Copperas Cove last Friday in their first district matchup of the season. Coleman won her girls singles match, but the Panthers lost as a team by a final score of 10-9. (Shannon Hofmann Photo)

By LANCE CATCHINGS

The Liberty Hill tennis team hosted Copperas Cove last Friday, and after an intense back-and-forth contest, ultimately fell by a final score of 10-9. Liberty Hill Head Coach Brittni Fausett said despite the loss, she was extremely proud of how her hard team played.

“It was a nail biting loss and came down to one match, which was Josh Bunting,” she said. “He played so well, and there is nothing more he could have done. He did the absolute best he could. They went to a tiebreak at 8-8, and it came down to one match. Unfortunately, we lost. With how well we played, I don’t consider it a loss in my book.”

Henry Madison, Nathan Karr and Tyler Franklin all picked up wins in boys singles. Kennedy Coleman, Hannah Crow, Lauren Crow and Mackenzie Coleman all grabbed wins in the girls singles division.

“They all played so well,” Fausett said. “Henry Madison played phenomenal. That’s probably the best I have seen him play. He played a really good player and beat him pretty easily. Kennedy Coleman played amazing in singles, as well as her mixed match. Nathan Karr at the number four spot played really well against Cove. It was probably one of the best days we’ve had as a team, overall, despite the outcome.”

The team did struggle in the doubles division competition with only the freshman girls duo of Stafford and House picking up an 8-4 win over their opponent. Kennedy Coleman and Gunnar Ortega continued their undefeated run on the season with a 9-7 win in mixed doubles, as well.

“We are struggling right now on doubles, and that’s an area we are working to improve,” Fausett said. “My mixed doubles is excelling. They have not lost a match, yet, and I’m very proud of them. My two freshmen pulled out a match at the three position, so I was proud of how they played. They are very young and they pulled it out pretty easily. We are working on our doubles right now. Doubles is a very strategic match, there’s strategy to it, and you have to play the net. My kids are sometimes a little apprehensive playing at the net. In doubles, you finish off points at the net, and that is something we are still working to improve. We are not very powerful at the net, although they can be. They will get there; it is just taking some time. This is my first year with this group in team tennis, so we are building and will continue to improve. In doubles, you are relying on your partner, and if your partner is having an off day, that can make for a tough result. You really have to trust each other, rely on each other and pick each other up. Some of my kids don’t like having to rely on someone else, and I was the same way when I played. You really have to be a team to be successful in that part of tennis.”

Fausett is proud of how the team has competed thus far in her first fall season as Head Coach. She explained that the range of competition her players have seen is helping them grow as tennis players, and she’s proud of the way her players have shown class both on and off the court.

“The competition we’ve seen so far has been good, overall,” she said. “We are improving each match, which is what I am really proud to see. We are getting more comfortable with facing new competition. My kids have handled everything with class and Liberty Hill High School pride, so I couldn’t ask any more of them than that. Off the court, our kids are just phenomenal kids, and academically, they do very well. It does not get much better than the team I have right now and, win or lose, I want to teach them that sportsmanship and class can get you prepared for the real world.”

The tennis teams will travel to Taylor this Friday, September 28 for their second district match of the season against the Ducks. Match play begins at 4 p.m.

Lance@LHIndependent.com

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