Written by SportsDayDFW.com
State tennis 4A, 5A: Highland Park takes four of five titles; Plano West wins girls doubles
AUSTIN — Highland Park continued its dominance at the UIL Class 4A tennis state tournament Tuesday as the Scots won titles in girls singles, mixed doubles, girls doubles and boys doubles at Penick-Allison Tennis Center.
“Last year, we won four of the five [4A divisions], so coming into this year it was harder because we had more pressure. We wanted to do better than we did the year before,” said Highland Park’s Connor LaFavre, who paired with Hunter Holman to post a 6-4, 6-2 win over John Jacob and Josh Minor of Austin Vandegrift in the boys doubles final.
“This year might be more impressive, because a lot of our matches were so close.”
None were closer than sophomore Chandler Carter’s win in the 4A girls singles final.
Carter trailed Domonique Garley of Saginaw, 5-1, in the second set and was on the verge of losing after dropping the first set 6-1. Then Carter rallied to win 7-5. She won the state title with the same score in the third set.
“Man, what a comeback. In my 14 years here, that’s the biggest comeback we’ve ever had in the playoffs,” Highland Park coach Dan Holden said. “ [Garley] let her in just a little bit, and Chandler started battling again and really put the pressure on.”
Carter’s win secured her second straight state title after winning the girls double title in 2013 with Nan Porter. Carter had to survive a grueling match with Houston Stratford’s Kaylin Kruseman in Monday’s semifinals and had the longest match of the day Tuesday.
“I’ve loved it,” Carter said of the tournament. “It’s been stressful at times, but it’s been a dream for me.”
Highland Park’s Margo Taylor and Elizabeth Porter won the girls doubles, and teammates Elizabeth Tedford and Mac McCullough won the mixed doubles. Both teams lost only four games in their final.
Taylor and Porter have won a combined 10 state titles between spring and fall tennis. Porter was last year’s singles champion, while Taylor won state titles in mixed doubles with LaFavre in 2012 and 2013.
“It means a whole lot because I’ve worked so hard to get here,” Taylor said. “It’s an amazing program, and we have amazing coaches.”
Plano West wins girls doubles: In Class 5A, Tiffany Hollebeck and Alahna Reto of Plano West took home the state championship in girls doubles as they beat Courtney Wright and Nousha Nowamooz of Houston Memorial 6-3, 6-2 in the final. Hollebeck and Reto didn’t drop a set in the tournament.
Frisco Lone Star team falls in final: In College Station, Frisco Lone Star’s mixed doubles pair of Abhishek Dayal and Cheryl Wright ran into a buzz saw from Abilene Wylie in Tuesday’s Class 3A state championship match at Texas A&M’s George P. Mitchell Tennis Center.
Abilene Wylie has been home to three state champion mixed teams in the last four years and added to that total when Brittany Smyser and Max Tadvick defeated Dayal and Wright, 6-3, 6-4.
“It’s a tough loss,” Lone Star coach Rachelle Mulanax said. “There’s always a few things you think you could do better, but I knew Wylie would be tough. We missed some opportunities there, and you can’t miss opportunities against Abilene Wylie.”
After losing the first set, the Lone Star duo gained an early 2-1 lead in the second set but were unable to maintain it as Smyser and Tadvick stormed back for a 6-4 win to clinch the state title.
Mulanax said the experience for Dayal and Wright is encouraging as the school moves up to the new Class 5A in the UIL realignment next school year.
“Unfortunately we’ll be 5A, so the competition level jumps up a couple of folds,” Mulanax said. “But they can compete at that level as well. Next year is looking good for them, and I’m excited as well.”
Special Contributor Sean Lester contributed to this report.