COPPERAS COVE — For Copperas Cove, confidence is key.

With a roster full of both talent and inexperience, the line between excelling and underwhelming can often be razor thin, and head coach Paul Talbett knows for his tennis team to be successful, it has to believe.

On Tuesday, the Bulldawgs and Lady Bulldawgs made tremendous strides in the right direction by soundly defeating Lampasas 14-5 thanks in part to a perfect performance from the boys, who won all nine of their matches.

The victory, however, was merely a byproduct of the team’s collective mindset.

“That was huge for their confidence mov-

ing forward,” Talbett said.

“One of our boys was down 4-6 and he came back to win. Another one was in a real tight match, and it is those kinds of things that as they get more and more under their belt, they will get more confidence.

“They are starting to realize that if they stay around and fight, they will find a way.”

Copperas Cove has endured a tumultuous start to the season, playing 14 matches during the first two weeks of its schedule, but has survived to produce a winning record, improving to 8-6 following the victory against Lampasas.

Early season wins are not Talbett’s ultimate concern, though. He wants to use this time to instill intangibles, like desire, heart and self-assurance, which will hopefully pay dividends when district play begins next month.

For senior Dominic Smith, the team is already moving in the right direction as it prepares to open play at the Midway tournament today.

“Confidence is such a huge part of tennis,” he said. “Mentally, you have to be there. … As long as we believe we can win, then we can do it.”

Smith’s doubles partner Jake Abraham agrees.

“I think we will do pretty good this weekend,” the junior said. “Especially after the way we played against Lampasas.”

The secret to the team’s success resides in its ability to win doubles matches, according to Talbett.

Due to the overall inexperience, early losses can often linger throughout the remainder of the match, while producing doubles wins can carry over into singles competition.

Against Lampasas, the Bulldawgs and Lady Bulldawgs went 5-2 in doubles.

“You could see it when they stepped on the court for their singles matches,” Talbett said. “They were expecting to win. They weren’t thinking, ‘I might be able to win,’ or, ‘I hope to compete.’ Every one of them was expecting to win when they got out on the court, and that is huge to have that mindset.”

Contact Clay Whittington at

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