Tennis drops tough match to state-ranked Wimberley, picks up wins over Ellison, Cove


By Lance Catchings

The Liberty Hill tennis team suffered its first loss of the season last Thursday on the road against number 16 state-ranked Wimberley.

Heading into the contest, Head Tennis Coach Philip Dodd said Wimberley would be a formidable opponent and they proved him correct.

“We were actually down 5-2 after doubles play, but roared back in singles taking a 9-8 lead into the last two matches,” Dodd said.

With the game on the line, Dodd sent out his two veteran seniors in Henry Madison and Gunnar Ortega and said that is the match he wanted. Madison and Ortega are both four-year varsity lettermen and are quite capable of holding their own against tough competition.

“I couldn’t have asked for a better ending with my senior leaders on the court, but the Wimberley boys were definitely their strength,” he said.

“We swept all six of the girls’ singles matches. Gunnar lost 8-3 and Henry lost his first set 6-4. He was cramping, but still won his second set 7-5. In the end, he lost the tie breaker for the third set 10-7.”

The Texans took the 10-9 win over Liberty Hill, but the Panthers came away knowing they competed well against a very strong program. Dodd said this could be important for potential playoff matches down the road.

“It was a great match overall and hopefully we will not see them in the first round of the playoffs,” he said.

“If we finish second in district, they will finish third in theirs behind number one ranked Fredericksburg and number two ranked Boerne. If that happens they will be our first-round playoff match so winning the district title next Thursday in Lampasas is critical for us.

Saturday, the tennis team traveled to Killeen to face two respected 6A programs. Liberty Hill faced Killeen Ellison in the morning and took on Copperas Cove in the afternoon. Liberty Hill defeated Ellison 10-0 and Copperas Cove 12-7.

Copperas Cove defeated the Panthers last season and has already beaten district rival Lampasas this season, which bodes well for Liberty Hill and where they stand skill wise this season.

“The wins were a great way to rebound after a close loss last Thursday to Wimberley,” Dodd said.

“We played good all around with the exceptions of a couple girls in doubles matches. We still have issues closing out some matches and sets. On the boys’ side, we are playing much better. Our girls are still one of the toughest teams around, but we need to fine tune before next Thursday when we open district play. We are hoping the weather will cooperate.”

The team has one remaining match against Lockhart before district play begins Sept. 13. At this point in the season, the tennis team has played almost double the number of matches from last season.

Following are winning results from all three tennis matches.

Boys Doubles: Gunnar Ortega/Henry Madison def. Wimberley, Ellison, Copperas Cove. Dalton Nicholas/Colin Garner def. Ellison. Ethan Warrington/Robert Ramirez def. Ellison, Copperas Cove.

Girls Doubles: Sophie Sherman/Kennedy Coleman def. Ellison. Angie Melendy/Lauren Crow def. Wimberley, Ellison, Copperas Cove. Mackenzie Coleman/Brooke Briscoe def. Ellison.

Boys Singles: Henry Madison def. Ellison, Copperas Cove. Gunnar Ortega def. Ellison. Colin Garner def. Ellison. Dalton Nicholas def. Ellison, Copperas Cove. Ethan Warrington def. Wimberley, Ellison, Copperas Cove.

Girls Singles: Mackenzie Coleman def. Wimberley, Copperas Cove. Angie Melendy def. Wimberley, Ellison, Copperas Cove. Sophie Sherman def. Wimberley, Ellison. Lauren Crow def. Wimberley, Ellison, Copperas Cove. Mackenzie Coleman def. Wimberley, Ellison, Copperas Cove. Brooke Briscoe def. Wimberley, Ellison, Copperas Cove.