By Monty Campbell
The Cove Herald
The Copperas Cove Bulldawgs continued their hectic early season schedule — 14 matches in 17 days — amongst mixed but promising results as they battled at Harker Heights and hosted Marble Falls in team tennis matches Aug. 11.
After falling in the morning match to the Knights 12-7, Copperas Cove rebounded from their first loss of the season with a convincing 13-6 victory over Marble Falls in the afternoon.
“I was very happy with the way we played. Our boys are really close to breaking through by getting a big point here or there,” Copperas Cove head coach Paul Talbett. “We are further along than I thought. They’re maturing, and their improvement is going to be the key on how far we go.”
The early morning match against Harker Heights helped the Dawgs gain some of that valuable maturation process as they tussled with a perennial playoff contender.
Zack Bengston and Matt Cranfill opened with a hard-fought loss to the Knights’ No. 1 boys’ doubles team of Hobbs and Joseph 2-6, 2-6. The sophomore duo of Jordan Kingery and Tevin Ogo brought the Cove boys’ tennis team even in the match by defeating Borrero and Hartley 6-3, 5-7, 10-8, but Leighton Bennett and Tim Ortner could not maintain the momentum for Cove as they fell to Adams and Easton 1-6, 3-6.
While the boys were receiving all that they wanted from the Heights’ boys, Tina Thai and Dana Whitt quickly realized that they were in a battle of their own against the Lady Knights’ duo of Cullinan and Hubert.
After claiming the first set (6-2) rather easily, the Lady Dawgs dropped the second set 1-6 and eventually the match 9-11, despite having a match point in the final set.
Dani Almli and Shannon Edwards also won their first set in a tie-breaker, but dropped their match to Baker in Palmares 7-6 (6), 4-6, 7-10.
As the other two girls’ matches were going the full three sets, Jillian Jones and Candace Walker found themselves in a three-set match too. This time the Cove tandem came out on top, defeating Ferguson and Monroe 6-2, 5-7, 10-4.
Despite having several chances in their mixed doubles match, Malika Bembridge and Zach Lampa could not capitalize on them and dropped the pivotal match to Ridgers and Truitt 3-6, 3-6.
The Lady Dawgs did get the last laugh of the morning though as their singles players picked up four of the six victories and earned a 5-4 win for their first ever victory over the Harker Heights girls.
Bembridge came out strong and had little difficulty putting away Rodgers 8-0, and Walker outlasted Cullinan as the latter had to retire from the match leading 7-6 in the first two girls’ positions respectively.
In other girls singles’ play, Jones fell to Baker 8-9 (10-8) despite trailing early 0-7, Bazil Greiner lost to Hubert 0-8, Thai knocked off Ferguson 8-4 and Whitt defeated Palmares 8-6.
Bengston stepped up and grabbed a 9-7 victory over Joseph in the Bulldawgs only boys’ victory of the match.
In other boys’ singles play, Ogo lost to Truitt 4-8 despite what Talbett described as an excellent match from Ogo, Kingery lost to Hobbs 4-8, Cranfill lost to Borrero 4-8, Lampa fell to Hartley 5-8 and Ortner lost to Adams 1-8.
Copperas Cove rebounded from its first loss of the season by dismantling a Marble Falls Mustang team still looking for a coach 13-6.
As has been the case in the early season, the Lady Dawgs carried the team by capturing six of the nine matches played.
Freshman Malika Bembridge continued her domination in singles’ play by disposing of Mayfield 8-1 and pairing with Lampa to defeat Griffin and Futrell 6-1, 6-0 in mixed doubles action.
In other girls’ singles play, Jones defeated Kilpatrick 8-2, Thai defeated Dockery 8-3, Edwards defeated Jette 8-3, Greiner lost to Burget 6-8 and Whitt fell to Futrell 3-8.
Almli and Edwards captured another doubles’ victory by defeating Jette and Burget 7-6 (4), 7-6 (4), Jones and Walker defeated Heindtz and Dowell 7-6 (3), 6-2, while Thai and Whitt fell to Mayfield and Kilpatrick (a pair that has been together three years) 2-6, 4-6.
“Our girls have not lost a match yet, although we are playing tentatively,” Talbett said. “Things are staring to look brighter as Heather (Pergande) returns this week.”
The Cove boys also dominated their side as well, earning six victories against three losses.
In boys’ singles, Ogo defeated Krause 8-6, Kingery defeated Mandel 8-5, Cranfill defeated Wagner 8-2, Lampa defeated Griffin 8-5, Ortner won by default and Bengston fell to Docherty in a tough match, 8-9 (1).
In boys’ doubles play, Kingery and Ogo won by default, Bengston and Cranfill lost to Krause and Wagner 6-1, 6-7 (6), 10-12 and Bennett and Ortner fell to Docherty and Mandel 4-6, 3-6.
Cove (3-1) resumes action Friday when they travel to Ellison in a rematch of their earlier 13-6 victory over the Eagles, and then return back home for matches against Leander and Lampasas Saturday.
Contact Monty Campbell at email@example.com or call (254) 547-9173.