In a match that needed two days to complete because of inclement weather, the Coppell tennis team shook off a sluggish start and rallied to defeat Plano East, 16-3, on Wednesday to clinch a playoff berth.
What made Coppell head coach Rich Foster the happiest was how well his team has overcome adversity this season, whether it be injury or health.
“I am very proud of this team,” he said. “We have yet to play a match with 100% of our lineup. Health and injury has been an issue every week. They have adjusted to lineup changes in singles and partner changes in doubles almost every week.”
For all of the lineup changes that Coppell has been forced to make, the team put it all on the line against East, losing just one match in singles play. Vinay Patel cruised to a 6-1, 6-1 win at No. 1 singles while Ishaan Dhandapani scored a 7-5, 6-2 triumph at the No. 2 line. Sayon Nath was flawless in a 6-0, 6-0 at No. 4 singles. Ricky Koshimizu and Maruthi Erranki each lost only one set in their respective matches. Cason Cole had his work cut out but got past Rayyan Shahid in three sets at No. 3 singles.
On the girls’ side, Lindsay Patton outlasted East’s Elsa Syed in three sets at No. 1 singles, while Nandini Thallapareddy, Lucky Parasumaran, Sarayu Thallapareddy and Meghana Ambati also picked up wins.
East put up a good challenge early on and trailed 2-1 when inclement weather forced Tuesday’s action to be delayed until Wednesday.
The Panthers were also leading in several doubles matches prior to the delay. But Coppell came back strong when play resumed. The squad fought off multiple match points in both No. 1 boys doubles and mixed doubles to claim the victories. Patel and Dhandapani rallied for a 3-6, 7-5, 11-9 victory over Shahid and Andre Tran in boys competition. Patton and Cole, meanwhile, found the winning formula to close out Parthiv Varanasi and Syed, 7-6 (8), 0-6, 12-10, during mixed doubles.
“Our battle this week with Plano East is probably the highlight of our season thus far,” Foster said. “We started the match Tuesday evening down a couple of players. East started strong. When the weather forced us to suspend play, we were up 2-1, but were struggling in the four remaining doubles matches.
“To use a boxing term, ‘They had us against the ropes.’ When we resumed play Wednesday, our players came out with incredible energy. We stole the momentum in doubles and cruised through singles, only dropping one additional match.”
Coppell will conclude the regular season Tuesday at Flower Mound. Both teams have secured a playoff berth. Coppell can finish as the No. 3 seed in District 6-6A with a win.