A season that began with a state championship won in the fall ended with another captured during the spring.
The Plano West tennis team has enjoyed no shortage of highlight moments during the 2021-22 school year, and the Wolves added another on Wednesday after senior Summer Shannon and Dmitri Goubin captured a state title in mixed doubles at the Class 6A state tournament, held at the Northside Tennis Center in San Antonio.
"They had a bit of a slow start in the first round ... but they picked it up in the semis and the finals. In the end, they were clearly the best mixed doubles team that was there," said Morgen Walker, West head coach.
Goubin and Shannon saved their best for last, defeating the League City Clear Springs team of Allison Schwartz and Rohsin Kamath in straight sets, 6-0 and 6-4. The West duo authored a commanding start to the final, authoring just their second 6-0 frame since the quarterfinal round of the District 6-6A tournament in March.
"I saw what I had been expecting to see all semester. We knew what they were capable of doing, and if they came out fired up and ready to go, that start was something we felt like they were capable of," Walker said. "It was evident in that match when they started that they were in complete control."
Goubin and Shannon prefaced their run to Wednesday's state final with wins over Lake Travis' Adrianna Peradoza and Kael Peterson (7-6(1), 6-4) and Katy Taylor's Jonathan Lin and Ally Lin (6-4, 6-2) on Tuesday. They did so in their first-ever stint as doubles partners, rebounding from a runner-up finish at the 6-6A tournament by winning seven consecutive matches to close out the spring season.
That included championships at the regional and state levels, avenging their loss in the 6-6A final to Coppell's Vinay Patel and Lindsay Patton. A rubber match fell one win short of happening on Wednesday, as Patel and Patton were edged in the semifinals by Schwartz and Kamath.
"There was a little bit of a disappointment there (at districts), especially after winning the first set in that match," Walker said. "They let Coppell get back into it and then at regionals they started both sets a little slow and had to come back and fight for them. I felt like in both matches we were capable of playing better than we did.
"What we saw in the finals was more indicative of what I thought they could do all along."
Teammates Kishan Kersten and Ethan Scribner carried similar aspirations into their return to the state tournament before mustering a state runner-up finish in 6A boys doubles. It matched the end result of the duo's run last year, dropping a 6-4, 6-4 state final to Round Rock Westwood's Aadhi Raja and Aashish Dhanani.
"We never really got going. We weren't playing horribly but it wasn't at the level we had been at," Walker said. "We just couldn't seem to change gears. We missed so many more returns than normal and the serve percentage wasn't what it normally is there. We weren't being as aggressive at the net with our volleys, and in spite of that it was neck-and-neck the entire match, which shows the quality of team they are.
"I feel like if we got that second set that we would have come out on top in the third."
It was the lone setback on a postseason resume that included district and regional championship for Kersten and Scribner. They were one of two entries into the boys doubles field from West, with teammates Utham Koduri and Anirudh Reddy ending their year as state quarterfinalists following a 6-2, 6-1 loss to Houston Memorial's Chase Scholz and Eric Kuo.
Their finish mirrored that of Flower Mound's Meera Sengottiyan and Sara Crawford, both of whom made their state tournament debuts on Tuesday. That pairing captured a district championship and toughed out a playback match at regionals to advance, edged in a three-set verdict by Bridgeland's Divya Tulluri and Emma Eads in the state quarterfinals (3-6, 6-3, 6-2).
Allen's Chelsie Son, meanwhile, was also making her first-ever trip to state and made her stay in San Antonio worthwhile. The sophomore went 1-1 on Tuesday, outlasting Houston Westside's Moira Silva in three sets (6-4, 4-6, 6-2) before falling to Austin Westlake's Chloe Zeng in the semifinals (6-1, 6-3) to finish third in the bracket.
Wednesday's round of state finals concluded the 2021-22 tennis season, a year that saw West capture the sixth UIL team state championship in program history on Oct. 29 before adding some more hardware for their work in the springtime. Along the way, Walker won the 500th match of his coaching career on Sept. 29 and was recently named Howard Payne University alumni coach of the year.
"It'll be hard to beat this year," Walker said. "With everything that has happened for me personally and for the team, to see it all come together the way it has, it's been a special year for sure. I don't know that I'll ever have another year like it."