One year ago, Plano West junior Alahna Reto’s spring tennis season ended at regionals and sophomore Tiffany Hollebeck’s tenure with the Lady Wolves hadn’t even begun.
On Tuesday, the two stood together achieving state tennis supremacy after capturing a Class 5A State Championship in girls doubles at the state tournament held at Penick-Allison Tennis Center in Austin.
“They were pretty excited,” said Morgen Walker, West head coach. “Even as we were leaving, they mentioned that it really hasn’t sunk in yet. They’re enjoying the trip right now and enjoying being state champs.”
They can also enjoy a series of performances befitting of a state champion. Reto and Hollebeck didn’t drop a single set across three matches in Austin – a fitting note considering that wasn’t the case at either the district or regional tournaments, although it was still enough to garner championships at those respective events. Similar aspirations were ever present on Monday and Tuesday and were set in motion following a 6-1, 6-0 throttling of Vanessa Camara and Natalia Tribaldos of El Paso Coronado in the state quarterfinals.
Losing just 12 games (while winning 37) all tournament, Reto and Hollebeck’s stiffest test actually came in the semifinals after nearly letting a 5-2 first-set lead dissipate against Nikita Pradeep and Sanjna Tripathy of Fort Bend Clements.
“Fort Bend changed tactics and went to a two-back formation,” Walker said. “That really slowed the pace of play down and we didn’t adjust as well as we should have. That slowed down our game a little bit as well.”
Not enough to put West in a one-set hole, however, as Reto and Hollebeck held on for the 7-5 win. Jumping out to a 4-1 lead in the second set, the Lady Wolves forced Clements out of its two-back scheme and cruised to a 6-1 victory and a spot in the finals.
Although chatter leading into the tournament might have favored a potential regional final rematch between West and Lake Travis’ Carli Knezevich and Remi Immler, the Lady Wolves were instead dealt Houston Memorial’s Courtney Wright and Nousha Nowamooz.
Although the familiarity of the opponent might not have been as fresh, the Lady Wolves weren’t any less affected. Despite an early 0-2 hole, Reto and Hollebeck won 12 of the next 15 games for set wins of 6-3 and 6-2 and an exclamation mark on their respective 2013-14 campaigns. In doing so, they became West’s first spring state champs since 2009 when alums Ben Guthrie and Matt Andrus took home the boys doubles title.
“We felt going in like our girls were the team to beat, but you still have to play it out,” Walker said. “You have to show up and prove that you’re the best team out there.”
Not only did they play to that level, both underclassmen could potentially get a chance to do so next season.
“They’re excited for what the future holds,” Walker said. “We’re not sure if they’ll still be playing doubles next year or if they’ll try something different, and we’ll decide on that when the time comes.
“They’re just enjoying the ride home and being state champs for this year.”
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