WILLIS — Friendswood tennis coach David Cook felt all along he had the best mixed doubles team in Region III-4A, the players just had to prove it.
And Joann Karam and Justin Vu did.
Karam and Vu scored an impressive 6-1, 6-2 victory over No. 1-seeded Tomball Memorial on Wednesday in the finals of the Region III-4A Championships at Blythe Calfee Tennis Center to earn a spot at the state tournament.
“It was fun winning it and proving it,” Cook said. “Every match Joann and Justin played today could have easily been 6-1, 6-1 or 6-0, 6-0 because they played that well.”
Karam and Vu, the No. 3 seeds, left little doubt which team was the best, starting the day with a 6-2, 6-4 semifinals win over No. 2 Montgomery. In the final, Karam and Vu cruised past Michelle Walker and Clark Rivers to earn a trip to the state tournament April 28-29 in Austin.
“I was really happy for Joann and Justin to play well and live up to that expectation,” Cook said. “They dominated in the final.”
For Karam, this will be her second state appearance in mixed doubles in three years, having done so with Kent Tollette as a sophomore, eventually advancing to the semifinals that year.
The Mustangs’ other team hopeful for state, Brittany and Kaitlyn Vu, fell one win shy of reaching its goal in girls doubles.
The Vus, seeded No. 3, lost to No. 2 Tomball Memorial in the semifinals, 6-3, 7-5, then beat Georgetown in the third-place match, 6-3, 7-6 (10-8).
On Monday, Georgetown upset Friendswood’s other girls doubles entry, No. 4-seeded LB Labra and Michelle Ngo, 2-6, 7-5, 7-6 (7-5).
“The two best teams in the (girls) doubles advanced,” Cook said. “It’s just unfortunate LB and Michelle lost like they did. The only time they trailed in the third-set tiebreaker was when it was 6-5 Georgetown.
“But I’m really proud of all our kids, especially the ones going to state.”
Chargers, Wildcats finish fourth
DEER PARK — Both Clear Springs and Clear Creek had to settle for fourth place at the Region III-5A Championships at Deer Park High School.
The Chargers’ No. 4-seeded Melody Duong and Haley Voumard eventually dropped a three-set heartbreaker to No. 3-seeded Cinco Ranch in the girls doubles third-place match.
The Wildcats’ No. 5-seeded Sophie Baillargeon and Dilan Behrle suffered the same fate against No. 2-seeded Fort Bend Austin in mixed doubles.
Duong and Voumard first lost to No. 2 Spring Branch Memorial in the semifinals, 6-3, 6-3. Then in the third-place match, the Chargers lost a 2-6, 6-2, 6-1 heartbreaker to Cinco Ranch.
“We definitely had a plan for them in the first set,” Clear Springs co-head coach Joyce Thomas said. “We played picture perfect, going crosscourt and chipping at them. But in that second set, (Cinco Ranch) played flawless.”
Added Chargers co-head coach Gregg Parker, “We’ve got a lot of hope for Melody and Haley since they’re only a freshman and sophomore.”
Clear Creek’s Baillargeon and Behrle won the first set in their third-place match with Fort Bend Austin but relinquished the next two for a disappointing 1-6, 6-2, 6-3 finish.
Earlier, in the semifinals, Baillargeon and Behrle lost to No. 1 Lamar, 6-0, 6-1.
“Against Fort Bend Austin, Sophie and Dilan came out repeating their performance from Tuesday,” Clear Creek coach Patrick Marrie said. “Sophie was hitting solid, and Dilan was playing well at the net.
“We got a good start in the third set and had a chance to go up 3-1. But we were never able to get that separation. Give (Austin) credit, they played well in the third set. The better team won today.”