Panther tennis season ends with loss to Waco Robinson in Area Playoff

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Liberty Hill’s Rhett Hofmann sends one back during the Panther tennis team’s loss to Waco Robinson in the Area Playoffs on Oct. 19. The Panthers’ season ended with a 10-5 loss as a team. (Shannon Hofmann Photo)

By LANCE CATCHINGS

The Liberty Hill fall tennis team ended its season Thursday, Oct. 19 in the Area Playoff round to Waco Robinson by a score of 10-5 at Temple High School. Liberty Hill Head Coach Brittni Fausett was proud of the effort her team showed in the matchup against a top program.

“We lost to Robinson, but I was extremely proud of our effort,” Fausett said. “We actually split sets with three or four matches. We could’ve beat Robinson if we could’ve won two of those doubles we split with. The score does not reflect how we played. That is probably the best my team has played all season. They stepped up, but we just did not finish it.”

Tyler Franklin picked up a win for the Panthers in boys singles by scores of 5-7, 6-3, (12-10). In girls singles, Lauren Crow bested her opponent 6-2, 6-4 and Angie Melendy won her match 6-1, 6-2. Melendy and Crow snatched a 6-1, 6-2 win in girls doubles while Kennedy Coleman and Gunnar Ortega finished the season undefeated with a 6-1, 6-1 win in mixed doubles.

Fausett said that, due to time constraints, play had to be stopped early, but her team battled hard.

“We had to stop matches, because they needed the court, but I think the score could have ended up 10-8 or possibly 10-9,” she said. “We had four matches left, and all of our kids were winning in the singles, so that was a bummer. Robinson is a great team, and they have always excelled at tennis. I was proud of my kids, and I think they were happy overall with how they did. Every match, we continued to get better, and that will help rolling into next season. Overall, we had a great season. Unfortunately, we just met Robinson pretty early. I think, throughout the season, you saw our team consistently improve to get better and better. Our doubles had struggled, and they really improved over the last few games. As a coach, steady improvement is all you can ask for. It was a great season, and I am proud of how they competed. It was my first team tennis season with the kids, and they did a great job. We can only improve from here.”

With fall team tennis done, the student-athletes will move into offseason as they prepare for spring tennis in January.

“We will head into the offseason where they will lift weights to get stronger, and we still practice two days out of the week,” Fausett said. “I feel like the offseason is the best type of season. It really is to work and get you better for the next season. This is the time to work and improve. This is where we can push ourselves, get stronger and I can coach. I can work on form and basic skills, which will be part of my focus this offseason.”

When tennis starts in the spring, it will have a different feel than the fall, which Fausett and her players are looking forward to.

“We will start up spring tennis as soon as we get back from the holidays in January, and our first tournament will be in February,” she said. “Spring tennis is a lot different than fall tennis. I think our mixed doubles has a great shot at making it to State again. During the transition, we will also focus on who is going to compete in which events for spring.”

Lance@LHIndependent.com

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