League City’s Brissa Mendoza won the girls’ 18-and-under singles at the King Daddy Sports December Junior Open tennis tournament in Houston.
Mendoza, seeded No. 2, racked up three wins along the way, including a 3-6, 6-3, 10-7 upset of Houston’s No. 1-seeded Kiran Singal in the final.
Mendoza cruised to the championship match, easily beating The Woodlands’ Laurel Coleman in the quarterfinals, 6-0, 6-2, and Missouri City’s Isabella Venegas in the semifinals 6-1, 6-2.
TEAM/COACH OF THE YEAR
Friendswood High School left the Class 6A ranks and took full advantage of the move in team tennis this fall.
The Mustangs totally dominated District 22-5A, then advanced to the regional semifinals before falling to Georgetown, 10-7.
“We beat teams we hadn’t beaten in a few years and beat teams this year by scores that were better than we expected,” said Friendswood head coach David Cook, whose team finished with an impressive 17-4 record and No. 17 state ranking.
The Mustangs’ overall performance earns them Galveston County Daily News’ Team of the Year and Cook as Coach of the Year honors for 2018.
Honorable mention goes to the Ball High Tornadoes for reaching the team tennis regional quarterfinals for the first time in school history.
PLAYER OF THE YEAR
League City’s Carter Crookston is quickly becoming one of the top junior tennis players in the country.
Crookston started off the year winning the boys 16s singles title at the Georgia Bowl United States Tennis Association National Level 3 tournament in Rome, Ga.
Weeks later, Crookston teamed up with fellow Clear Creek Wildcat Michael Raji to reach the University Interscholastic League Class 6A boys’ doubles state final, dropping a heartbreaking three-setter to Austin Westlake.
“I’m a lot more patient now when I play,” said Crookston, 2018’s Daily News “Player of the Year.” “I guess I’m being smarter.”
Receiving co-honorable mention are the Team Galveston sister look-alikes, Carley and Gabby Singleton, who walked away with three gold medals at the Texas Amateur Athletic Federation Summer Games of Texas in College Station.
Together the Singletons won the girls’ 14s doubles, then Carley and Gabby also claimed the respective 12s and 14s singles championships.
TIP OF THE DAY
In doubles, touch and placement are far more important than killing the ball.