By Monty Campbell

The Cove Herald

Tennis is a sport that many players have leaned can be frustrating yet rewarding. It is a sport in which an inauspicious point that got away from a player in the match could come back and haunt them for the rest of the match — resulting in a difficult loss from a match that could have gone the other way.

The Copperas Cove tennis team understood this harsh reality more clearly after falling to the Cedar Park Timberwolves in a nip-and-tuck team tennis match 11-8, Aug. 30.

Despite the hard-luck loss, Cove understood that if there was ever such a thing as a good loss, this loss to the Timberwolves fit that bill. Cedar Park is expected to challenge Georgetown and Round Rock Westwood for the district championship this season.

“We were literally just a handful of points away from winning this match 11-8. It was the strongest boys’ lineup that we are going to see all fall,” Copperas Cove head coach Paul Talbett said. “We knew that our girls were going to have to win seven to nine matches to have a chance to win. We played well, just came up a bit short.”

As has been the case throughout the season, Copperas Cove (9-4) knew that their girls were going to have a huge day to be successful and once again, the girls did not disappoint. The Lady Dawgs came out ready to play, taking the action to Cedar Park and ended up winning eight out of nine matches.

Freshman Melika Bembridge led the way once again for Cove as she teamed with doubles partner Tina Thai to knock off Cedar Park’s No. 1 girls’ doubles team 10-2. Bembridge then stepped up and shut down Cedar Park in the No. 1 girls’ singles match in straight sets 6-2, 6-0.

Following the lead from her doubles partner, Thai used the momentum from their convincing doubles victory to knock off Cedar Park’s No. 4 girls’ singles player 6-2, 6-4.

Jillian Jones and Candace Walker picked up where their teammates left off as Cove’s No. 2 girls’ doubles team disposed of Cedar Park 10-7 and then each player went on to win her own singles’ match.

First, Jones won in a three-set thriller 6-0, 6-7 (6), 10-8 and then Walker got past the Timberwolves’ No. 6 girls’ singles player 6-2, 6-1.

Heather Pergande and Dana Whitt were not about to be outdone by their fellow Cove girls’ doubles teams and added another victory to the Lady Dawgs cause as they defeated their opponents 10-3, in No. 3 girls’ doubles action.

Pergande then went on to defeat the Cedar Parks’ No. 3 girl in straight sets (6-2, 6-2), adding another win to the total.

Cove’s mixed doubles team of Dani Almli and Zach Lampa did all that they could to keep the Cove train rolling forward in their match, but could not pick up crucial points in their tough-luck 10-11 (7-5) loss to Cedar Park.

Each player continued to give maximum effort in singles’ play, but it was not enough as Almli fell in another heart-wrenching defeat 6-3, 6-7 (4), 8-10 and Lampa lost 2-6, 3-6.

Lampa’s difficult losses were just the tip of the iceberg for the Cove boys players as they often came very close to winning matches against Cedar Park, but fell just short on numerous occasions against the four Super’s that played for the Timberwolves.

Cove’s No. 1 boys’ doubles team of Zack Bengston and Matt Cranfill tried valiantly to pick up a point for Cove but their efforts did not pay off as the duo fell to the pair of Ghandi and Long 6-10. Bengston then dropped his singles’ match to Rodriguez 0-6, 1-6 and Cranfill was defeated in his singles’ match by Ghandi 3-6, 2-6.

As the Bulldawgs continued putting forth exemplary effort, their results continued to be lacking as the No. 2 boys’ doubles team of Jordan Kingery and Tevin Ogo fell to Cedar Park’s duo 5-10.

As was the case with Bengston and Cranfill, the pair each dropped their singles’ match. Kingery lost to Long 6-7 (4), 3-6, while Ogo dropped his match 6-7 (3), 6-3, 8-10.

Leighton Bennett and Tim Ortner rounded out the Cove boys’ players and, like their teammates, dropped difficult matches to Cedar Park. After the duo fell to the Timberwolves’ No. 3 boys’ doubles team 7-10, Ortner dropped the final singles match of the day 0-6, 2-6.

The Copperas Cove varsity was not the only team in action Aug. 30 as the J.V. Gold fell to Harker Heights 11-7, with the Cove girls picking up all seven wins, and the J.V. Blue squad dropped its match to Shoemaker 15-3.

Cove’s varsity team tennis squad resumes its busy schedule today as they look to defeat the Belton Tigers for the first time in school history. Matches are set to begin around 4 p.m.

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

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