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By Arch Bell
Contributing Writer

There was celebratory cake at the Westlake High School tennis center on the morning of Oct. 12 and with good reason. Not only had the Westlake tennis team outlasted Lake Travis Oct. 8 to claim the District 15-5A title the night before, but Westlake head coach Kim Riley also earned her 200th win at the helm of the Chaparrals.
Milestones aside, Riley was effusive in her praise for her team members after they came back from an early deficit Thursday night to pick up the win.
“We knew it was going to come down to the last matches on the court,” Riley said. “I’m really proud of my team for sticking it out. For a while, we were actually down 3-6, but it didn’t rattle them, and very quickly we won five matches to go up, and then once that happened. They got some more energy knowing they could pull it out.”
Just two weeks prior, the Cavaliers picked up a tight 10-7 win over the Chaps that saw the Cavs jump out to an early advantage. It looked like it might be déjà vu all over again for the Chaps, but then sophomore Ali Young came huge, winning a three-setter over Bailey Meyer that set the tone for the comeback.
“I lost the first set, and in the second set, I was down 1-2,” Young said. “Coach came on the court and started encouraging me and said that the team was depending on me. So I dug in and came back and won the next two sets.”
The Chaps picked up four wins in girls’ singles that included Casey Sutton’s 6-1, 6-0 victory against Courtney Schulte. The senior managed to put the disappointment of a close doubles loss behind her all the while battling a shoulder injury. Most players with such an injury would have been sidelined, but Sutton was not about to let her senior season fall by the wayside.
“I’ve been out a really long time with a bad shoulder injury, and I’m not actually supposed to be playing right now,” Sutton said. “It just gave me a motivation that even if I’m injured, I still want to be better than everyone out there. It’s my last year; I didn’t want to be sitting out any longer.”
The dynamic doubles duo of Nemo Neiss and Charles Tan also avenged their loss to Tristan Wise and Nick Ruzicka two weeks ago to claim a key three-set victory. Neiss and Tan then followed up that effort with workmanlike wins in singles despite the very tennis-unfriendly conditions in the area.
“Yesterday, I just tried to make a lot of balls and run because it was windy, and there were tough conditions,” Neiss said. “I just put balls in play and ran to force the unforced error.”
Tan was also very efficient in his 6-2, 6-2 win over Adam Dokos. The sophomore was content to stick to his game plan of slugging away from the baseline to eventually set up his volleying at the net.
“My game matched up well against his,” Tan said. “I feel like I’m aggressive from the baseline, so I’ll end up at the net. I take pride in my groundstrokes.”

Westlake will now head to regionals where the Chaps will face plenty of tough competition. Riley is perfectly aware of the level of competition her team will face and knows that there is still plenty of work ahead.
“Region II is always tough,” Riley said. “In the [state] top 10, there about seven schools there. Lake Travis will be there. Westwood is a tough team, and they’ll be there. Plano West in an unknown quantity, and even though we usually beat most of the Houston schools, that’s still a question mark out there for us. We definitely have some work to do.”
Westlake beats Lake Travis 10-8 (Westlake players names in italics)

Girls doubles
Meredith Hopson/Casey Sutton vs Ryan Brown/Courtney Shulte  7-5, 4-6, 6-4
Raina Kishan/Ali Young vs Carli Knezevich/R. Immler 7-6, 6-4
Allie Carlisle/Hannah Sutton vs Bailey Meyer/Emily Cotton  4-6,6-3,6-3

Boys doubles
Nemo Niess/Charles Tan vs. Tristan Wise/Nick Ruzicka  7-5,5-7,6-4
Sam Bell/Julian Sweeney vs. Adam Dokos/BG Slay  6-1, 6-2
Elliot Lebovitz/Ankith Kandikonda vs. Erik Kerrigan/Tyler Wilkie  6-0, 6-3

Mixed Doubles
Ian Kocher/Jacqueline Patterson vs. Davis Meyer/Raven Hampton  6-0, 6-2

Girls Singles
Casey Sutton vs. Courtney Schulte  6-1, 6-0
Jacqueline Patterson vs Carli Knezevich  6-4, 6-1
Raina Kishan vs. Remi Immler  6-4, 6-1
Ali Young vs. Bailey Meyer  3-6, 6-4, 6-2
Hannah Sutton vs. Kristen Thorne  6-2, 6-3

Boys Singles
Nemo Niess vs. Tristan Wise  6-3, 6-3
Charles Tan vs. Adam Pokos   6-2, 6-2
Sam Bell vs. Erik Kerrigan  7-5,7-5
Ian Kocher vs. Nick Ruzicka  6-4,6-3
Julian Sweeney vs BG Slay  7-6, 6-3
Brett Denkler vs. Tyler Wilkie  6-1, 6-4
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