LAMPASAS — The score could not have been any closer, and that is exactly how Kenneth Peiser likes it.
After being on both ends of blowouts to start the season, Lampasas found itself involved in a back-and-forth, high-anxiety encounter with Georgetown East View on Tuesday.
In the end, the Badgers and Lady Badgers emerged with a 10-9 victory, but simply experiencing a tense contest was equally important for the young and inexperienced roster, according to Lampasas’ head coach.
“We need to have as many close matches as we can get before district,” Peiser said. “At that point, they are all going to be tight, and all the kids need to get used to playing with nerves. Just me going out and telling them tonight, ‘Hey, we need this match to win,’ they tense up and get nervous.
“They need to have that little bit of pressure on them, so they can handle it at district.”
Lampasas, which opened the season with a 14-5 loss at Copperas Cove before beating Killeen 18-1, was able to overcome any late-match anxieties against the Patriots and Lady Patriots, winning the final two singles matches to secure the victory.
Trailing 9-8, Badgers sophomore Griffin Burbey allowed a 5-2 advantage in the second set to dwindle to one game, but rebounded to win 7-6, 7-4 and tie the team score.
Then, with all eyes on her, Audrey Kernes, a newcomer to the team this season, clinched the win by beating her opponent 6-3, 6-4.
“It was tight, but everyone was backing them up and cheering them on,” Peiser said. “So, they knew what it meant. It was good for team building and just a good win.”
Lampasas jumped out to a 5-2 advantage following doubles with the Lady Badgers sweeping in the pro set format. The tandems of Carolyn Laborde-Rhiannon Wright (8-3), Leigh Adamski-Sommer Cofield (8-0) and Veronica Werve-Mckenzee Thornton (8-4) won, and Tara Pergande teamed up with Shrader Davis to win their mixed doubles match 8-3.
Burbey and teammate Timothy Cavalieri were the only Badgers duo to win in boys doubles, beating their opponents 8-3.
In singles, however, Lampasas lost its lead.
“We just have to figure out how to win singles matches,” Peiser said. “We play them in practice, but sometimes, they don’t take them serious. Then, when they get out on the court and need a match, it is hard for them to pull it out.”
Burbey was the lone Badger to earn a singles win, but the Lady Badgers were victorious in four of their six matches. Along with Kernes, senior Pergande, Wright and Adamski each won.
With the victory, Lampasas improved to 2-1 on the season and heads into an early-season break, taking more than a week off before traveling to Harker Heights on Sept. 4.
While Peiser would prefer to continue playing, he believes the time away from competition will be beneficial.
“We need to just have straight workouts for a while,” he said. “Tonight’s match helps to let them know we need to get better at our practices. Hopefully, that helps them not feel as much pressure out on the court.”
Contact Clay Whittington at firstname.lastname@example.org