By Angel Verdejo

The Cove Herald

The Bulldawg tennis team started a nearly month-long stretch of matches away from home last week at Robinson, defeating the Rockets 12-1. Cove (16-3) hosted its Central Texas Team Tournament at the end of August and won't play at home again until Sept. 29 against Harker Heights - the Dawgs third match into district play. During the stretch, the Dawgs will play five head-to-head team matches, a quad-team match at Pasadena Dobie near Houston and district matches at Ellison and Temple. Cove goes to Lampasas today and Fredericksburg on Friday.

The road stretch is fitting looking at Cove's entire schedule. The Dawgs played seven of their first nine matches at home, capped off with their tournament. Part of the stretch is Cove returning favors for those playing quad-team matches at Cove.

"Part of it was where we could get them in," Cove coach Paul Talbett said. "When we're playing the quads, those are kind of traditional quads we have here all the time. We didn't really have those traditional after-school matches we're going to start playing now."

Starting with that Harker Heights match at the end of the month, Cove ends its regular season with four-of-five matches at home.

The Class 5A Region II tournament is in Tyler at the end of October with the state tournament to follow in Austin.

"I kind of like them to get on the road right before district to get them used to playing away from home," Talbett said. "I just told them that we've got two more weeks to be prepared to go into district and we still need to be a lot better than we are right now. The schedule that we're playing is pretty solid."

The Dawgs beat Robinson 12-1 on Sept. 3, as the match was called with inclement weather in the area.

"We came out early in doubles," Talbett said. "We ended up 6-1 against them, with our only loss at out No. 3 girls doubles. We lost to them there last time and we lost to them on a third-set tiebreaker."

Talbett made a few changes to his boys lineup, as Cove is scheduled to welcome back Jordan Kingery, a senior who hasn't played this season but has been on varsity since his freshman year.

Talbett said he didn't know exactly where Kingery would slot in on the singles' side, but will likely pair up with fellow senior Tevin Ogo for double play. The two were regional qualifiers as freshmen.

"I have Tevin playing with a different partner (Eric Jaurez) so I wanted to have him start working with somebody else since they probably weren't going to be playing together," Talbett said.

Juarez will team with Wes Watts in the No. 3 doubles slot, where the two were earlier this season.

Ogo and Kingery will likely start at the No. 2 spot as Leighton Bennett and Tim Ortner have won six matches in a row from their top spot.

Talbett said the two pairs may play later to adjust the seeding if needed, but he'll keep with Bennett and Ortner's hot streak for now.

Cross Country starts season

With a meet under their belts, Copperas Cove cross country coach Sue Wagner and the Dawgs have a better idea of what to expect this season.

Sort of.

The varsity boys finished fifth Saturday at the Belton Invitational at Killeen's Long Branch Park, with Derwin Graham (16:12) finishing second. On the girls side, Cove didn't have enough runners to fill out an entire varsity lineup but junior Dakota Klepinger ran the course in 13:17 for 28th place.

"There's some kind of virus going around and last week we had quite a few missing," Wagner said. "When we get the rest of the varsity squad, they will be a great complement to each other. I'm looking forward to getting everybody healthy."

As far as the meet itself, Wagner said she was pleased with how her team competed. Cove is still juggling its final varsity lineups, but Wagner said she'll welcome the competition between teammates.

"The kids really came through," she said. "They challenged themselves and worked hard, and I saw a lot of good things out of that first meet."

Cove continues its season Saturday at the Hewitt Kiwanis Midway Invitational, which begins at 10 a.m. for the varsity girls and 10:20 a.m. for the boys. The meet will be at the Heart of Texas Soccer Complex in Waco. A week later (Sept. 19), the Dawgs will run in the Baylor Invitational at the Lake Waco dam.

Volleyball beats Hutto in 5

Cove's volleyball team continued its hot start to the season, going the distance with Hutto on Friday before putting the Lady Hippos away on the road 25-19, 21-25, 25-23, 19-25, 15-8.

The win over the Lady Hippos was the first for Cove in team history.

Phyllicia Cross had an impressive all-around match for the Dawgs, as the junior had a team-high 16 kills, posted six aces and recorded 22 digs - second only to Teneshia Abney's 25 for the match. Kelly Kearns added 12 kills and six assisted blocks. Alex Chace led Cove with two solo blocks, while Jessica Williams had eight assisted blocks.

Both Cove setters put up double-digit assists, with Amy Rosenbaum putting up 29 assists and Kenya Williams adding 15.

"It's the first time we played five games all year, at somebody else's house on a Friday night," Cove coach Cari Lowery said.

"We very easily could have not come through ... but in game five we dominated."

Contact Angel Verdejo at or (254) 501-7564.

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