Panthers close successful fall season in regional semifinals tennis

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The Panther tennis team advanced to the regional semifinals with a 10-9 win over Groesbeck last weekend, before falling to Longview Spring Hill. (Laura Coleman Photo)

The Panther tennis team advanced to the regional semifinals with a 10-9 win over Groesbeck last weekend, before falling to Longview Spring Hill. (Laura Coleman Photo)

By Lauren Jette

The Panther tennis team made a statement at the regional tournament in Willis last weekend, knocking off a district champion before falling to the number one seed to finish their second fall season.

In the first match, Liberty Hill defeated Groesbeck 10-9 in the quarterfinals.

Tied at 9 all, Kerri Bunting won in straight sets to give the Panthers the victory.

Liberty Hill had to fight back from a 3-4 hole after doubles matches, and then a 4-7 hole with the bottom half of singles matches left.

Head coach Jacob Jones said the number four through six singles lines on the boys and girls sides pulled through to even the match.

“They were amazing,” Jones said of his team.

“I never shook so many hands and hugged so many backs in my life. We were beyond excited! The kids played phenomenally.”

In the semifinals, Liberty Hill was outplayed by number one seed Longview Spring Hill 10-3. Spring Hill defeated last year’s state qualifier Center for the number one seed.

“Our guys played their hardest, but (Spring Hill) was just stronger that day. The wind was horrific,” Jones said.

It was a great season for the first year head coach, however.

“I couldn’t be more proud of my students,” Jones said.

“From the beginning of August through last week, they worked every day to push themselves to the limit. We accomplished what we wanted, to make regionals for the first time in school history.

“Yes, we wanted to go to state, but at the end of the day, Longview Spring Hill was better, and our students acknowledged and accepted that with great pride. It takes an amazing person to accept defeat, our students have heart.”

The Panthers will take a break before hitting the courts again for the spring season next semester.

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