Tennis season ends in area semifinal

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By Paul Livengood

The Panthers met their match Oct. 13 against the Lampasas Badgers.

After suffering a 3-10 loss to the Badgers, the Panthers’ hopes for regionals and beyond has come to an end.

The loss last week was the second time in a month where the Panthers lost to the Badgers. On Sept. 15, the match came down to the final match between the six-line boys singles.

The major difference in this match compared to the previous one in September appeared to be slim at first. The Panthers led the match 4-3 heading into the singles matches before (all the doubles matches are played first), and were down only 3-4 after all doubles matches had been played.

“In my opinion, we should have won our first match against Lampasas,” Coach Jacob Jones said. “We went up 4-3 going into Singles. Going into the 19th match, we were up a set and a break.”

With what seemed like a slim deficit at the time, the one match hole the Panthers were in was still dangerous because of how quickly things can change.

Coach Jones expressed that team tennis is 90 percent mental and incorporates a lot of strategy and a little luck sometimes to change the momentum of the match.

Tennis matches can vary in length, so some matches that began at the same time, potentially can finish much earlier than others. Jones said they lost some crucial singles matches early that swung the tide and put pressure on the matches that were both still being played and/or about to start.

Eventually, the deficit became too grand to overcome, but the Panthers fought nevertheless.

“Our players played with heart, but unfortunately, everything doesn’t happen like we want,” Jones said.

The mixed doubles team comprised of Josh Bunting and Paris Durante is one of the teams that stood out to Jones.

“I placed them together last year at the end of spring tennis,” Jones said of the duo. “Individually, they are very good players, but together, they have excellent chemistry. In district play, they went undefeated. I have high hopes for them in the spring.”

Looking back on the fall season, Jones was proud of his team. He pointed at some weather issues at the beginning of the season, which cancelled some key matches for his team, but all in all “the players gave their all and at the end of the day, that’s all you can ask for.”

With the fall season ending, the focus shifts to the spring season.

Jones has high hopes.

“My expectations going into this season is to maintain and progress from last spring,” Jones said. “Our top girls singles player should do very well her last year, she’s 7-1 in singles. We have two solid boys doubles teams that will certainly compete in district, one in which is a young team. Even though our season ended earlier than expected, I am excited and eager to begin spring tennis and to continue to build the tennis program for Liberty Hill.”

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