For the second consecutive year, the Plano West tennis team’s season ended one win short of a state championship.
With Tuesday’s Class 6A state title match contested between the last two unbeaten teams remaining in the classification, it was a commanding surge in singles play that helped Round Rock Westwood distance from the Wolves for a 10-4 victory at Texas A&M University.
The Warriors, ranked No. 1 in 6A by the Texas Tennis Coaches Association, captured their second state title in three years. West, ranked No. 3, matched its state runner-up finish from last season.
“We had some opportunities early but we didn’t capitalize on them,” said Morgen Walker, West head coach. “Giving up doubles and being on the other side of that was huge. Being in that position against a team like that made it an uphill battle. We just didn’t get it done, but it wasn’t for a lack of trying.”
Tuesday’s match marked the third consecutive year that West and Westwood have crossed paths in the postseason. The two sides split their prior two meetings, including a 10-9 victory for the Wolves in the regional semifinals last season.
Walker said this year’s Westwood team was more formidable on the boys side than he recalled from last year. That bore out all morning at College Station, with the Warriors winning seven of their 10 points from either boys singles or boys doubles.
Walker’s hope was to match that firepower with a big showing from West’s girls team, but only managed to pick up two wins in girls doubles and trailed at the turn, 4-3.
Seniors Estefania Hernandez and Janet Pham came out on top in the No. 1 girls line (7-6, 6-3), and senior Elyssa Ducret and junior Natasha Opaciuch did the same on the No. 2 line (6-0, 6-0). Junior Ethan Scribner and sophomore Kishan Kersten added a win on the boys No. 2 line (6-4, 6-2), but the Warriors won in straight sets elsewhere.
“We had our chances, but at the same time, it’s the state championship game and you have to be ready to go,” Walker said. “They were a little bit more ready for this one than we were at the start and that’s a credit to them.”
The Warriors went on to win five matches in boys singles, all in straight sets, plus a two-set victory on the No. 6 girls line to polish off a dominant run to the 6A mountaintop. Only West freshman Cody Huang managed a win during that span, wrapping up a 6-0, 6-1 win on the No. 4 girls line.
Walker noted that the Wolves had other chances to cut into their deficit. Opaciuch was in the middle of a three-set tiebreaker on the No. 2 line and Pham held a one-set lead in her singles match on the No. 3 line.
But in the end, Westwood won out in the race to 10 points — handing West the lone blemish on a 16-1 record. Tuesday’s setback marked the end of the team tennis careers for six seniors on the Wolves’ roster — including mainstays in Walker’s lineup like Hernandez, Pham and Ducret, as well as Arie Hu, Nicolas Herrera and Arjun Kersten.
“We don’t have the success we had this season without our seniors,” Walker said. “I can’t say enough about the job those seniors did this year and the leadership they brought.”