All Saints wins state tennis title

 

WACO — All Saints tennis won another state title and yet again the Lady Trojans did it with team depth over individual talent.

Although the two All Saints doubles teams playing in the TAPPS 4A girls semifinals lost, the Lady Trojans had done enough to secure a third straight girls state championship in 4A and eighth straight overall.

“It’s the second year in a row that we have won the team title without getting anyone to the finals in singles or doubles,” All Saints coach Andrea Booth said. “It’s just our depth. It just shows that we have depth on our team. It helps that we qualified five of our six because everyone that shows up gets a point.”

All Saints’ Luci Bates and Abigail Russell lost 6-4, 6-3 to eventual state champions Lillian Robinson and Kimberlee Southwell of Austin Hyde Park in one semifinal.

“One of the girls was a super champ; she was just able to dominate the net and we had problems getting the ball away from her,” Booth said. “She really dictated play. She did the same thing in the finals.”

On the other side of the bra-cket, All Saints’ Lauren Birtcher and Payton Leihgeber lost in three sets to Corpus Christi Incarnate Word’s Mary Hubert and Courtney Ramirez, 5-7, 6-4, 6-0.

“They played hard; they played intense,” Booth said of Birtcher-Leihgeber, both sophomores. “I thought they had more intensity than we’ve had in the past. I was proud of how hard and how focused they were and how hard they worked.”

Despite the two losses, All Saints beat out second-place Midland Christian for the team title. Lady Trojans junior Gabrielle Bosworth added points for qualifying as a district champion in singles.

“It’s good that we have the depth that we have,” Booth said. “It shows at the state tournament because there’s not any other teams that consistently for (eight years) are able to qualify as many kids from district to state. And we have a tough district as well. It means something now that we’re in 4A.”

The Lady Trojans will go for nine straight titles next year, with Bates the only graduating senior among those at state.

“We’ll miss our seniors, but one thing that we’ve been blessed with is depth,” Booth said. “We will hopefully have some people work hard over the summer and then we’ll be ready to compete again next year.

“We will miss Luci. Luci is a leader on our team and she’s an encourager and motivator with the girls. We’ll miss her leadership.”

Dallas Parish Episcopal won the boys team title, with Nicholas Izzard-Eric Musselman winning a fourth straight doubles title and Brent Friedman taking second in singles.

The All Saints boys finished fourth as a team, despite winning only two matches at state. Perry Clements and Blake Birtcher-Tom DeBoer each won one match while Nick Booth and Joel Edgemon-Caden Westmoreland also supplied points for reaching state.

“The thing with the boys is I don’t feel like we played a match where we couldn’t have won,” Booth said. “Hopefully we can work hard and we can compete better next year.”

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