Five local schools have qualified for team tennis postseason play.
A strong 2-3-4 finish in District 24-6A sends runner-up Clear Creek, third-place Friendswood and surprising fourth-place Clear Falls to the tournament, along with 23-5A’s third- and fourth-place finishers, Ball High and Texas City.
The Wildcats, champions of 24-6A for three straight years before archrival Clear Lake stole those bragging rights away this fall, ended district play on Tuesday with a 12-7 win over Clear Falls.
Clear Creek finished at 6-1, followed by the Mustangs – 18-1 winners over Dickinson – at 5-2 and the Knights at 4-3.
“With a slow start last Friday against (Clear) Springs in the doubles, our goal was to come out fast and get a lead going into the singles,” Wildcats coach Derick Geise said. “Our team did just that.”
Clear Creek won five of the seven doubles matches before icing the win with a 7-5 advantage in the singles.
“The girls swept all three doubles, which was one of the determining factors in defeating Springs,” Geise said.
The top two Lady Wildcat teams – No. 1 Alejandra Lopez/Toni Tacorda and No. 2 Reagan Canales/Britney Fang – won in straight sets, while the No. 3 team of Taryn Riley and Clarissa Valcoviak needed a third-set super-tiebreaker to finally turn away Emily Niemann and Darby Paul 6-1, 5-7, 10-4.
Then the two teams traded wins at the No. 1 singles matchups.
Clear Falls’ Reed Collier won the boys’ match, beating Carter Crookston 6-4, 6-2. Lopez answered with a 6-0, 6-2 decision over Stephanie Bautista in the girls’ action.
Still, Knights coach Keller Akin is understandably ecstatic about his team qualifying for the postseason.
“I’m very proud of our team this year,” Akin said. “I can’t be sure when the last time, if ever, Falls was in the playoffs, so the kids are very proud and excited, especially our seniors.”
Next up for the two teams will be bi-district on Tuesday, with Clear Creek taking on Brazoswood at Alvin High School and Clear Falls visiting Pearland Dawson.
At the same time, Friendswood will be in Angleton facing George Ranch after beating Dickinson.
“We subbed in the bottom of the singles lineup, and that gave us a chance to get everyone into the starting lineup,” Mustangs coach David Cook said after Tuesday’s win.
“We are pleased to earn the playoffs for another year and are very happy with our draw for the first round. We like our chances to advance and look forward to extending a playoff run.”
Friendswood eliminated George Ranch in the playoffs last year.
A big plus for the Mustangs this time around will be the return of Nina Gonzalez, who was nursing an injury.
“That will boost our girls’ lineup at No. 3 singles and line two doubles,” Cook said of Gonzalez.
As for the two 23-5A qualifiers, both most likely will receive first-round byes since District 24 does not compete in team tennis.
In Ball High’s loss to Fort Bend Elkins, the Tors’ Tony Corrales finished undefeated in district singles play with a 6-2, 6-2 victory over Diego Sananez at the No. 2 position.
Also winning in singles for Ball High were the girls’ No. 5 Jhanna Antonio and the boys’ No. 6 William Harris. Earlier, Daphne Morales and Noah Elzner teamed up to win in straight sets.
“The Tors played hard for their last district match,” Ball High coach Kim LeGate said.
Meantime, shining for Texas City against 23-5A champion Alvin Shadow Creek was the Stings’ No. 1 boys doubles team of Lane Alexander and Daniel Gracia, who dropped a heartbreaking three-set marathon by a decisive 12-10 super-tiebreaker.
“Lane had strong serves to help keep the match even with the help of Daniel’s net play,” Texas City coach Russell Creel said. “Unfortunately they lost the tiebreaker.”
Clear Creek 12, Clear Falls 7
Clear Springs 16, Alvin 3
Friendswood 18, Dickinson 1
Clear Lake 14, Clear Brook 5
Fort Bend Elkins 15, Ball High 4
Alvin Shadow Creek 19, Texas City 0