Central Texas players go 0-for-8 at state matches in College Station
By JASON ORTS
COLLEGE STATION – Eight entries from Central Texas headed to the Mitchell Tennis Center on Monday with state glory on their minds.
The day didn’t go as planned at all.
No wins, no medals for anyone in the area’s Class 1A-3A schools. In fact, only Lorena’s 3A boys’ doubles team even won a set.
The only win for anyone in Central Texas came in the 5A ranks at the Penick-Allison Tennis Center in Austin, where Belton boys’ singles player Jacob Daughtery scratched through in a highly competitive match against Fort Bend Dulles’ Jeffery Chen, 5-7, 7-6 (5), 7-5.
Daughtery advanced to meet Round Rock Westwood’s Miguel Alda in the semifinals, and took home a bronze medal after a 6-4, 7-5 setback.
Lorena’s duo of Drew Keeney and Miles Milliorn found themselves in an intense and sometimes testy match against Argyle’s Jack Vickery and Rafael Ortega.
Arguments over line calls sometimes overshadowed the high level of play coming from both sides of the net, with the Eagles finally seizing control in the third set and reeling off the last five games for a 7-6 (5), 5-7, 6-3.
“The third set was a lot like the first set,” Keeney said. “We got out to a break lead, and I told Miles before the match that each game at this level comes down to crucial points during the game, and we didn’t pull those crucial points out. We missed a couple volleys that hurt us, but they played really well.”
The first set was a bitter pill to swallow for Lorena, as it stormed out of the gates to a 4-0 lead and was in complete control of the action.
But a small letdown, Keeney admitted, and Argyle finally getting itself going turned the set. around.
Keeney and Milliorn still had a 5-2 lead, but couldn’t hold when serving for the set at 5-3, and Vickery and came through
with a hold to get level for the first time at 5-all. The set went to a tiebreaker and was all even at five again, but a Milliorn double fault at 5-6 handed the set to Argyle.
The Eagles parlayed their momentum into an early break in the second set, but Lorena got it right back and the teams stayed close the rest of the way.
“I told Miles we’ve worked too hard to give up at this point,” Keeney said. “We had to keep on pushing. We had them in the first set.
“I told him if we keep pushing our aggressiveness then we were going to win the second set, and we ended up winning it.”
After the Leopards jumped out to leads of 2-0 and 3-1, however, they couldn’t hold keep their consistency, and the Argyle tandem pounced to run out the match.
Though disappointed by the loss, the experience and making Lorena history as the first to get to state at least since it has been a 3A school.
“I’ll remember this for a lifetime,” Keeney said. “Playing on A&M’s courts is amazing. Winning all the matches we won with only about two months of practice was really great. I just want to thank Miles for being an awesome teammate.”
Robinson had been a state regular in recent years, having at least one entry for seven straight years before falling short the past two.
The Rockets were back Monday with a pair of entries, both of which drew the unfortunate fate of being paired against 3A’s preeminent juggernaut Abilene Wylie.
Jacob Wingate stayed on serve with defending state champion Rayce Roberson in the boys’ singles quarterfinals for the first four games, but couldn’t take another one in a 6-2, 6-0 defeat.
“Jacob played very well,” Robinson coach Jack Gregory said. “He just made a couple unforced errors that (Roberson) took advantage of. But Jacob competed and played really good tennis.
Roberson got through the semifinals later Monday and will meet Dallas Madison’s Bradley Loftis for for the state crown Tuesday.
Robinson’s duo of Kayla Hill-Johnson and McKenna Kramer went down to Abilene Wylie’s Shelby Corn and Brittany Smyser, a team that also advanced to the championship match, 6-1, 6-0.
Roberson also won his semifinal match and will try to defend his title Tuesday, while Corn and Smyser also reached the final against Grace Whitfield and Sabrina Barnfield of Kilgore.
“It was the first year for the girls’ team to be (at state),” Gregory said. “I think they were maybe a little in awe of the situation. The girls played well, but they just didn’t win enough points to win enough games.”
Also in the 3A mixed-doubles ranks, Boerne’s Adam Copps and Tatiana Bujnoch were too much for Groesbeck’s Andrew Cook and Caitlyn Harlan in a 6-3, 6-1 match. Cook and Harlan’s mere presence was significant, however, as it marked the 25th straight year Groesbeck has sent at least one entry to the state tennis tournament.
In 2A mixed doubles, Whitney’s Kelsey Leech and William Martin stayed stride for stride with Schulenburg’s Aristides Espinosa and Shannon Mikesky but ultimately fell short, 6-4, 7-6 (3).
In the 1A ranks, Hubbard sent a pair of entries to state.
The boys’ doubles team of Hudson Alderman and Trey Henderson dropped a 6-1, 6-3 decision to Claude’s Jordan Battenfield and Teron Webb, while the Lady Jaguars’ team of Kate Saucke and Nakaila Banks went down to Mason’s Kirsten Allen and Carley Chew, 6-2, 6-3.
Kopperl’s Dylan Hall and Lindsey Williams fell to Joshua Gomez and Cassandra Hagewood of Fort Hancock in 1A mixed doubles, 6-1, 6-1.