By Monty Campbell
Killeen Daily Herald
COPPERAS COVE – The Copperas Cove Bulldawg tennis team received head coach Paul Talbett's message loud and clear Saturday as they completed a perfect morning/afternoon of tennis, defeating Leander 19-0 and Lampasas 19-0 at Bulldawg Tennis Complex.
After a disheartening 14-5 victory over the Ellison Eagles – a match in which Talbett felt as if his team was not putting forth the required effort – he challenged his team, in a 30-minute lecture, to step up and show more heart.
"After Ellison, we were very unhappy with the effort exhibited by the team and I challenged them after the match," Talbett said. "Lack of 'A' effort is inexcusable, but today they came out and stepped up, giving an 'A+' effort."
The Dawgs began the day with a 19-0 whitewashing of the Leander Lions, despite not having their No. 1 girls' singles player in the lineup.
Zack Bengston and Matt Cranfill started the day off on the right foot with a riling 6-1, 6-1 victory over the Lions' No. 1 boys' doubles team of Alexander and Joliffe. Jordan Kingery and Tevin Ogo and Leighton Bennett and Tim Ortner made it a clean sweep for the Cove boys without even losing a set as they defeated Callaway and Robinson (6-4, 6-3) and Laasko and Freestone (6-4, 6-3), respectively.
The Cove girls' doubles teams picked up right where the boys left off, sweeping the Lady Lions without losing a set either.
Jillian Jones and Candace Walker opened the Cove domination by besting Garza and Luck 6-1, 6-2, while Heather Pergande and Tina Thai knocked off Johnson and Escamilla 6-2, 6-2 and Dani Almli and Shannon Edwards defeated Harvey and Young 6-3, 6-4.
Cove's mixed doubles' duo, Zach Lampa and Dana Whitt, grabbed a quick 6-1 win in the first set, but then suffered a temporary setback as they dropped the second set 6-4. The Cove pair rebounded by closing the match against Pullido and Smith with a 10-4 victory.
The Dawgs did not relent in singles' play as Ogo defeated Brix 8-2, Kingery defeated Adkins 8-4, Cranfill defeated Pullido 8-2, Bengston defeated Callaway 8-6, Lampa defeated Robinson 8-2 and Ortner defeated Kelley 8-1.
Not to be outdone by the male counterparts, the Lady Dawgs swept singles play with Jones shutting out Garza 8-0, Thai defeating Smith 9-8 (5), Pergande defeating Luck 8-3, Whitt knocking off Johnson 8-3, Edwards defeating Escamilla 8-3 and Almli defeating Harvey 8-2.
The Copperas Cove tennis team was not content with one shutout on this day, though, as they came back in the afternoon and shut out the Lampasas Badgers 19-0 for their second consecutive team tennis shutout.
Each of the aforementioned Cove players came back with victories in doubles action against Lampasas sans the girls' duo of Pergande and Thai, who were replaced by Liz Bliss and Sue Sinn. Bliss and Sinn did not miss a beat as they defeated the Lampasas duo of Terrazos and Johnson 6-1, 6-2.
As was the case with the doubles' play, the Cove boys singles players remained the same against Lampasas but the girls replaced Edwards and Almli with Bazil Greiner and Brittany Schutz, in the No. 5 and No. 6 positions, respectively.
Greiner and Schutz did not disappoint with each trailing their respective opponents, Langford and Johnson, 7-5 before coming back and winning the match 9-7.
"I am very proud of the way the kids played today, they stepped up," Talbett said. "The last thing we need as a team is to be satisfied, in order to achieve our goals. We played like we were satisfied Friday and today, we weren't playing like we were satisfied."
Copperas Cove (6-1) resumes its busy early season schedule Tuesday as the Dawgs host Harker Heights in a rematch of Cove's only loss this season on Aug. 11, 12-7. The first doubles matches are set to begin at a tentative time of 3:30 p.m.
The Dawgs have yet to beat the Knights in team tennis, with the closest match being a 10-9 loss in 2003, but with the way they are playing Talbett feels that his team has the opportunity for an historic victory.
"Our guys have come so far since the last time we played Harker Heights," Talbett said. "If we come out and play to win and not play not to lose, we will be just fine."
Contact Monty Campbell at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 547-9173.