Panther tennis defeats Marble Falls, Harker Heights, waiting on rain to determine bi-district schedule

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By Lance Catchings

The Liberty Hill fall tennis team wrapped up regular season play last weekend with matches against Marble Falls and Harker Heights. Thursday, the team traveled to Marble falls and won 21-1, and Friday, the Panthers defeated Harker Heights 22-2. The wins moved the Panthers’ season record to 15-1 prior to entering the playoffs this week.

Canyon Lake was the fourth-place finisher from District 28-4A and who Liberty Hill drew in the bi-district playoff round. The teams were originally scheduled to play Monday evening, and then tried for Monday morning before having to cancel Monday’s matchup altogether due to rain.

Both coaches hoped for a Wednesday match in Marble Falls around noon, but everything is dependent upon weather and when the courts can dry up. If Liberty Hill can play and defeat Canyon Lake sometime this week, they will advance and face District 26 runner-up Smithville sometime between Thursday and Saturday at the City Courts in Taylor. This all hinges on the rain letting up and how fast the courts can dry. If they are rained out this week, the coaches will come up with another plan.

Head Coach Philip Dodd said the rain has been the only downside he can find to this season so far.

“The rain has been a bummer,” Dodd said. “Not knowing when and where the playoffs will be played is tough, but everyone is in the same boat.”

To combat the lack of outside court time, the Panthers have taken to the gym facilities, which can be a challenge schedule-wise, but everyone is doing their best to work through it.

“Practice is difficult sharing gyms with volleyball, football and even some offseason sports sometimes, so we get little work in when the rain shuts down outside activities,” Dodd said.

Dodd believes his team’s success in the playoffs relies more on what they have done all season, rather than what they do over the last week.

“It’s not what we do over the next couple of days that will matter,” he said. “It’s what we have done all season long. Doubles is starting to look a little better, but that is still our weak spot.”

Everyone involved is antsy with the weather, but there is nothing that can be done except to watch and wait.

“The kids are just ready to play and so are the coaches,” Dodd said. “Being in limbo is not fun, but mother nature has her own agenda. We must play by her rules.”

The fall tennis team has made a complete turnaround from last season, and the team is on path to be one of the top teams in the region and a formidable opponent to anyone they face.

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