Panthers oust Hornets, improve to 2-2 on court

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Alex Svetlik returns a serve against Caldwell. The Panthers won 16-3 to improve to 2-2. (Kathy Canady Photo)

Alex Svetlik returns a serve against Caldwell. The Panthers won 16-3 to improve to 2-2. (Kathy Canady Photo)

By BOB VARMETTE

Liberty Hill may be peaking at just the right time of the team tennis season.

Sweeping the boys doubles and dropping just official matches, the Panthers crushed Caldwell 16-3 Tuesday night in a District 24-4A dual match at the LHHS courts.

It’s the second win in a row for the Panthers (2-2) after dropping their first two matches to Lampasas and Taylor.

“I think the kids played well – they performed under a little bit of pressure,” Liberty Hill Coach Robert Headrick said. “Hopefully, we can finish out the season with a win in Burnet next week.”

Several Panthers were double winners Tuesday, including Bo Miller, who won at No. 1 boys doubles with partner Graham Vaandrager, and then fought through some service issues to win at No. 2 singles.

Vaandrager and Miller beat the Hornets’ top boys partnership of Dalton Martin and Paul Lucero 6-0, 6-0, and then both went on to win their respective singles matches. Vaandrager, the Panthers’ boys No. 1, topped Martin 6-0, 6-3 and Miller defeated Kasey Humphries 6-3, 6-1.

It was a frustrating match, particularly early, for Miller.

“I do get frustrated when I can’t get my serve down,” Miller said. “That’s probably the best part of my game. It’s the most important stroke of the game. If you can’t get the serve down, there’s no way you can win the point.”

Miller said he has a goal of not double faulting more than once or twice in a match. He figures he had six Tuesday against Humphries, including three in just one game.

But Miller calmed down late in the first set and then was back in form in the second set.

“I think he played well,” Headrick said. “I think he’s trying to be a little more patient than what he’s shown the last couple of weeks. That’s proven to be an asset for him – his patience.”

Junior Lindsey Cowdrey was a double winner for Liberty Hill on the girls side. She won her singles match by sweeping Caldwell’s Jabrean Jackson 6-1, 6-4 after teaming with Alex Svetlik to dispatch Jabrean Jackson and her sister Ecaroh Jackson 6-3, 6-1 at No. 1 girls doubles.

Svetlik, however, was not able to win her singles match. The sophomore retired down 5-3 to Ecaroh Jackson after injuring her right ankle in the No. 1 girls singles match.

The extent of the injury wasn’t known Tuesday evening, Headrick said. But it will likely lead to significant changes on the girls side.

He said if Svetlik is not available to play Tuesday at Burnet in the final District 24-4A dual, everyone on the girls ladder will likely move up a spot. As for doubles, that’s to be determined.

“Hopefully, Alex is OK with her strained ankle,” Headrick said. “If not, we’ll just bump our girls up – each one – and see what happens. It’s going to put a little wrinkle in our girls doubles, but we’ll have to play with that.”

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