52° F Sunday, April 23, 2017

Westlake played as perfectly as possible and came as close as possible to making the state tournament without getting in.

The Chaparral tennis team lost to Plano West 10-9 as two matches came down to the last set before the eventual loss on Saturday.

With 13 seniors guiding the team through a highly-successful fall season, Westlake was in position to culminate the season with a state berth. In the toughest region in Texas tennis, the Chaps came up just short.

“The kids played a perfect tournament,” Westlake tennis coach Kim Riley said. “Coming one match short, almost half a match short, that’s a great showing at the regional tournament. Obviously, we would have liked to win one more match, but it wasn’t in the cards on Saturday.”

Plano West came out of doubles play with a 4-3 edge as Westlake won its first two girls doubles matches and No. 1 boys doubles match.

The top four girls singles players – Meredith Hopson, Fernanda Contreras, Casey Sutton and Raina Kishan – took wins as did the top two boys players, Nemo Niess and Charles Tan.

The No. 2 boys doubles tandem of Sam Bell and Julian Sweeney pushed their match to the last set before a 3-6, 7-5 6-2 loss, while the mixed doubles team of Ian Kocher and Jacqueline Patterson lost 7-5 in a tiebreaker to determine the third set, coming points within a win.

“It’s even closer than one match, any one of those sets – that tie breaker – it would have been different,” Riley said. “That lack of depth eventually caught up with us. You’ve got to have a deep team to come out. The boys side, we kind of knew all season that lack of depth would, at some point, bring us to a halt, and it did on Saturday.”

Riley called this group “one of the best, one of the greatest,” as the team had nine freshmen on varsity four years ago, and though a few left and a few came on board, the team wound up with 13 seniors this season.

Whereas in season’s past the regional title game was somewhat a forgone conclusion with one side winning handily, this year’s challenge was unique and exciting for the Chaps.

“The fall of ’12, but the class of ’13, will go down as one of the great tennis teams simply because of the heart and dedication they have,” Riley said. “We never played a region that close. We never lost, or won quite frankly, 10-9 or 10-8. It’s always been 10-3, 10-4, or we got beat like last year (a 10-4 defeat to McKinney Boyd).

‘A lot of times it’s already decided before the match starts. This was an exciting one,” Riley said. “From that standpoint, it won’t be forgotten anytime soon.”

The top seed came down to Westlake and Plano West, with the Chaps netting the No. 1 spot.  The Chaps easily handled Kingwood 10-1 in the first round then beat Rockwall 10-1 as well.

In the semifinals, Westlake toppled Westwood 10-6 as the Chaps overcame the Warriors strong boys squad to take the win, with Plano West beat Klein 10-8 in the other semifinal, and Westlake beat Klein earlier in the year 10-8.

“We really thought we had it, so the kids take it extra hard,” Riley said. “It felt like a long time coming. I would have loved to get this team to state, but that’s not how it played out.

Seniors Hopson, Sutton, Kishan and Niess, along with sophomores Contreras and Tan, were responsible for all nine wins in singles and doubles against Plano West.

“Those six kids throughout the tournament went almost undefeated,” Riley said. “I’m glad we have such strong leadership. That’s sets us up really well in the future for them to lead a team. They know what it feels like now; they know the level to play at to get a regional championship. These seniors we have are just an incredible group.”

Though the fall team season comes to a close for the Chaps, Westlake will have plenty of chances to accumulate some wins on the regional and state stage during spring tennis.

“When they were freshmen, I had nine of them on varsity – I’ve never had nine on varsity,” Riley said. “I’m glad those kids have strong leadership in front of them. When you have strong leaders that resonates for years, they remember how those seniors were, and that’s how they want to be.”

Region 2-5A Championships

Westlake 10, Kingwood 1

Girls doubles

Meredith Hopson/ Fernanda Contreras 6-3, 6-2

Casey Sutton/ Raina Kishan 6-1, 6-0

Allie Carlisle/ Ali Young 7-6, 6-3*

Boys doubles

Nemo Niess/Charles Tan 6-3, 6-1

Sam Bell/Julian Sweeney 3-6, 6-4, 3-6

Elliot Lebovitz/Rahul Gorti 6-2, 6-0

Mixed doubles

Jacqueline Patterson/Ian Kocher 6-1, 6-1

Girls singles

Hopson 6-0, 6-0

Contreras 6-0, 6-0

Sutton 6-0, 6-0

Kishan 6-0, 6-1

Boys singles

Niess up when match ended

Tan up when match ended

——————————————————–

Westlake 10, Rockwall 1

Girls doubles

Hopson/Contreras 6-0, 6-0

C. Sutton/Kishan 6-0, 6-1

Carlisle/ Young 6-4, 6-1

Boys doubles

Niess/ Tan 6-0, 6-3

Bell/ Sweeney 6-4, 2-6, 6-2*

Lebovitz/ Gorti  5-7, 3-6

Mixed doubles

Patterson/ Kocher 6-0, 6-2

Girls singles

Hopson 6-0, 6-0

Contreras 6-0, 6-1

Sutton 6-0, 6-0

Kishan 6-0, 6-0

——————————————————–

Westlake 10, Westwood 6

Girls doubles

Hopson/Contreras 6-0, 6-1

C. Sutton/Kishan 6-0, 6-1

Carlisle/ Young 5-7, 7-6 (7-4), 7-5

Boys doubles

Niess/ Tan 3-6, 6-2, 6-3

Bell/ Sweeney 0-6, 5-7

Lebovitz/ Gorti 5-7, 5-7

Mixed doubles

Patterson/ Kocher 5-6, 2-6

Girls singles

Hopson 6-0, 6-1

Contreras 6-1, 6-1

Sutton 6-1, 6-1

Kishan 6-0, 6-1

Patterson 6-4, 6-3

Boys singles

Niess 2-6, 1-6

Tan 4-6, 1-6

Bell 2-6, 0-6

Julian Sweeney 6-1, 6-4*

——————————————————–

Plano West 10, Westlake 9

Girls doubles

Hopson/Contreras 6-2, 6-2

C. Sutton/Kishan 6-1, 6-0

Carlisle/ Young 1-6, 6-3, 1-6

Boys doubles

Niess/ Tan 6-1, 6-1

Bell/ Sweeney 6-3, 5-7, 2-6

Lebovitz/ Gorti 0-6, 1-6

Mixed doubles

Patterson/ Kocher 3-6, 6-3, 6-7 (5-7)

Girls singles

Hopson 6-1, 6-0

Contreras 6-0, 6-3

Sutton 6-0, 6-0

Kishan 6-4, 6-3

Young 4-6, 3-6

Boys singles

Niess 7-6 (7-6), 6-0

Tan 6-2, 6-1

Bell 5-7, 2-6

Sweeney 1-6, 0-6

Brett Denkler 1-6, 0-6

*= win to close out match
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