By Monty Campbell

The Cove Herald

Faced with the prospect of falling below the coveted .500 mark for the first time all season, the Copperas Cove Bulldawg tennis players stepped up their play and nearly swept every individual match in their victories over Waco (19-0), Shoemaker (19-0) and Lampasas (18-1) this week.

“We came out a little flat Tuesday,” Copperas Cove head coach Paul Talbett said.

“After that match, I challenged the kids to get through the two matches over the weekend 19-0 and do something,”

Not only did the Bulldawgs come through the two matches on Friday and Saturday, they nearly pulled off the double sweep, losing only one individual match.

Before reaching the weekend play, Copperas Cove (14-10 overall, 1-0 District 16-4A) opened up District 16-4A team tennis action with a convincing 19-0 victory over the host Waco Lions on Sept. 18.

The No. 1 boys’ doubles team of Zack Bengston and Zach Lampa started things off on the right foot for the Dawgs as they got past the Lions’ duo of Bradley and Koss 6-1, 6-1.

Keeping things in order for the Cove boys’ doubles teams, Jordan Kingery and Tevin Ogo defeated Shen and Burley 6-0, 6-0 and Leighton Bennett and Tim Ortner knocked off Vega and Fagner 6-0, 6-0.

While the boys’ doubles teams defeated Waco while only dropping two total games in the three matches, Cove’s girls’ improved upon that feat by losing only one game through the three matches.

Freshman Malika Bembridge and Shannon Edwards defeated Nowicki and Taylor 6-0, 6-1, Tina Thai and Dana Whitt defeated Eppard and Dempsey 6-0, 6-0 and Cove’s final girls’ doubles team of Jillian Jones and Candace Walker breezed by on default.

Dani Almli and Matt Cranfill continued the Cove doubles dominance as they completed the sweep of Waco’s doubles teams when they defeated Tipton and Palasota 7-6 (2), 6-3.

In boys’ singles play, Bengston defeated Bradley 1-6, 7-6 (2), 6-4; Cranfill defeated Tipton 6-0, 6-2; Ogo defeated Shen 6-1, 6-1; Kingery defeated Burley 6-0, 6-0; Lampa defeated Koss 6-0, 6-1 and Ortner defeated Fagner 6-1, 6-1.

In girls’ singles play, Bembridge defeated Palasota 6-1, 6-1; Jones defeated Nowicki 6-4, 6-2; Thai defeated Gersbach 6-0, 6-1; Whitt defeated Eppard 6-0, 6-0; Walker defeated Dempsey 6-0, 6-0 and Bazil Greiner defeated Haditsh 6-1, 6-0.

“Waco was a much better team than they were last year,” Talbett said.“The kids did what they needed to do to close out the matches.”

Following their district-opening victory over Waco, the Dawgs embarked on another opportunity for a victory as they defeated the Shoemaker Grey Wolves 19-0 Sept. 21 at the Bulldawg Tennis Complex.

“I was concerned with the Lampasas match going into it. Lampasas always gets up for us,” Talbett said.

“I was concerned with a mental let down, after our match with Shoemaker Friday night and that Lampasas was much improved since the last time we saw them.

After all three boys’ doubles teams were victorious, the pressure of maintaining the perfect week fell upon the Cove girls.

First, Bembridge and Heather Pergande defeated Peterson and Langford 6-0, 6-2.

Thai and Whitt continued the momentum by knocking off Krueger and Perkins in a three-set thriller 5-7, 6-4, 6-0, putting the pressure on Jones and Walker to maintain the streak.

While momentum continued to swing back and forth throughout the match with each sided taking a set, the Lampasas duo of Miller and Johnson finally broke through for a 6-3, 3-6, 6-4 victory over Jones and Walker.

Cove’s Almli and Cranfill quickly returned the favor by knocking off Peterson and Tucker 7-6 (4), 6-4 and the Dawgs coasted the rest of the way, winning every singles’ match.

Contact Monty Campbell at or call (254) 547-9173.

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