By Monty Campbell
The Cove Herald
The Copperas Cove Bulldawg tennis team clinched their second consecutive berth in the Region II team tennis championships as they captured sole position of second place in District 16-4A with two key victories.
First, they captured a convincing 19-0 win over Killeen Tuesday evening and a 13-6 victory over the Brownwood Lions Oct. 9.
“We played several very tight matches and I am proud of the team, they fought hard,” Copperas Cove head coach Paul Talbett said. “We’ve got the inside track for regionals and control our own destiny.”
Copperas Cove entered the match knowing that it was going to be a difficult road test and if they were to pick up the victory, it was going to have to start with doubles’ play. The Cove doubles’ teams did not let the others down as they came out of the doubles’ portion of the match ahead 5-2.
Malika Bembridge and Heather Pergande started things off on the right foot for the Dawgs as they came out and defeated the Lady Lions’ duo of Faetche and Leonard in straight sets 6-1, 6-3.
Jillian Jones and Candace Walker came off the courts with the same result as the No. 1 girls’ doubles team when they also picked up a victory for Cove by defeating Brownwood’s Chaput and Priddy in straight sets 6-2, 6-1.
Although the two girls’ doubles victories were big for Cove, the key match of the day was the one that featured Zack Bengston and Zach Lampa, according to Talbett.
Bengston and Lampa battled the Lions’ No. 1 boys’ doubles team of Thomas and Cardenas strong, splitting the first two sets.
Eventually the Cove duo overcame Brownwood duo in the third and final set to win the match 6-3, 1-6, 6-4, picking up the other Cove doubles’ team on the courts at the time, Tina Thai and Dana Whitt.
Upon hearing the excitement from the No. 1 boys’ doubles match, Thai and Whitt became more of a force and continued their comeback from dropping the first set.
Thai and Whitt completed the comeback with a 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 victory over Burks and Arlidge.
In other doubles action, Dani Almli and Matt Cranfill knocked off Bennett and Rodham 7-6 (2), 6-3, Jordan Kingery and Tevin Ogo lost to Vallecilla and Pinkard 6-0, 0-6, 1-6 and Leighton Bennett and Tim Ortner fell to Embrey and Yannoy 3-6, 6-7 (4).
In singles’ action, the Cove girls picked up where they have left off for much of the season — dominating their opponents.
Bembridge quickly disposed of Faetche 6-1, 6-2 to lead the Lady Dawgs’ to their 5-1 dominance over the Lady Lions.
Other Lady Dawg matches were Pergande over Bennett 6-1, 6-2, Jones fell to Burks in three sets 6-3, 5-7, 8-10, Thai defeated Leonard in three sets 1-6, 6-1, 6-2, Whitt defeated Arlidge in three sets 2-6, 7-5, 10-7 and Walker beat Priddy in three sets 3-6, 6-1, 6-3.
The Cove boys split their six matches with Brownwood as Ogo defeated Cardenas 6-3, 6-3, Lampa defeated Rodham 6-4, 6-3, Ortner defeated Embrey 6-4, 6-3, Bengston lost to Thomas 0-6, 2-6, Cranfill lost to Vallecillo 3-6, 1-6 and Kingery lost to Pinkard 2-6, 6-4, 4-6.
“This was a good win on the road for us,” Talbett said. “We now control our own destiny.”
As part of controlling their own destiny, the Dawgs scheduled a match against another strong Central Texas team — the Harker Heights Knights Oct. 12.
Unfortunately the intensity and focus was not there for Copperas Cove, after the big victory over Brownwood, as they dropped the match to the Knights 15-4 in Harker Heights.
Cove resumes action with a warm-up match against Gatesville Saturday.
Contact Monty Campbell at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (254) 547-9173