Written by Sean Lester
New Braunfels eliminates Plano West tennis team in state semifinals, 10-7
COLLEGE STATION — The Plano West tennis team got an early lead in Monday’s Class 5A semifinal at the UIL team tennis state tournament — much like it did last season.
And like a year ago, West could not hang on late, losing to defending champion New Braunfels, 10-7, to end its season.
“There’s really nothing to say that’s going to make the sting of losing any easier,” Plano West coach Morgen Walker said. “We had some chances in some matches, and they kind of got away from us. New Braunfels pulled those games out, and we couldn’t finish them. That’s what it came down to.”
A year ago Plano West led Houston Memorial, 5-2, after doubles play in the state semifinals before losing, 10-7.
Plano West (19-5) took a 4-3 lead Monday thanks to a sweep in girls doubles and a mixed doubles victory by Mark Hainey and Rubina Sarwal.
New Braunfels (21-0) evened the score in singles play at 7-7 when the match was stopped for a rain delay that lasted more than three hours.
“We felt confident before doubles even started that we could win the match,” Walker said. “Getting ahead in doubles obviously is crucial but against a team like this, you can’t let them stay close. If you have a chance to step on the neck, you have to do it, and we just weren’t able to do that today.”
The two teams were moved from Texas A&M’s Mitchell Tennis Center to the Bryan Tennis Center 15 minutes away. There, Plano West’s Seema Prakash was defeated in three sets by Chloe Drumwright of New Braunfels.
New Braunfels will try for their sixth consecutive team title Tuesday.
“I have a very young team,” Walker said. “We had two seniors on the court today, and the rest of them are all back. They are going to remember what this feels like, and be motivated to come back next year.”
Highland Park’s match postponed to Tuesday: Due to the rain delay, the 4A semifinal match between Highland Park and San Antonio Alamo Heights was postponed.
The teams will meet at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday at Bryan High School with Highland Park entering on a 127-match winning streak and looking for its 10th title in 11 seasons. The 4A state final match will be played at 2:30 p.m. at the Mitchell Tennis Center.
Sean Lester is a freelance writer based in College Station.