WACO — Grace Community and All Saints are set for another semifinal showdown.
For the second straight year, the two schools’ top girls doubles teams will face off in the TAPPS 4A state semifinals. And for the Lady Trojans, a team title is again on the line.
Top-seeded Lady Cougars Rebekah Bentley and Caroline Rook will face Lady Trojans Megan Leihgeber and Luci Bates at 10 a.m. today from Waco Regional Tennis Center.
Additionally, All Saints’ Kaitlyn Huskey reached the singles semifinals for the fourth straight year and Bullard Brook Hill sophomore Hunter Scammahorn made his second appearance in the TAPPS 3A singles semifinals.
The All Saints boys team and East Texas Christian Academy’s netters all failed to advance past the quarterfinals.
In 2011, the All Saints team of Leihgeber and Sydney Booth defeated Grace’s Bentley and Megan Hodge in what ultimately determined the team champion. A win for the Lady Trojans would give them a chance to repeat as 4A state champs.
Bentley-Rook, who share the top seed with Houston Awty International’s Lauriane Roussal-Emma Vales, cruised through the opening rounds. They took out Houston Second Baptist’s Shannon Garner-Carolyn Treneer 6-0, 6-2 and then Midland Christian’s Katie Vaughan-Kalinda Wight 6-2, 6-0.
Bentley-Rook earned the seeding based on their TAPPS 2-4A championship where they defeated Leihgeber-Bates, 6-4, 7-6. Leihgeber-Bates had beaten the Grace duo earlier in the year.
All Saints coach Andrea Booth said Leihgeber, a senior, has been sick for the last week and was told by doctors she wouldn’t play. But Leihgeber fought on, and with Bates stepping up, the duo marched into the semifinals.
“I’m very proud of Megan Leihgeber and Luci Bates,” Booth said. “Luci held up her side and then some. I’m proud of them for being there.”
Leihgeber-Bates defeated Sugar Land Fort Bend Baptist’s sister act of Anna and Clara Pardue, 6-3, 7-5, in the first round before having an easier go of it in the quarterfinals, where the Lady Trojans picked up a 6-2, 6-1 victory over second-seeded Emma Hardin-Sarah Shaver of Lubbock Trinity Christian.
All Saints’ other girls doubles team of Payton Leihgeber and Lauren Birtcher was knocked out in three sets in the first round by Thalia Daniel and Benazir Sako of Awty International, 7-6, 3-6, 6-4.
“That was a match that could’ve gone either way,” Booth said. “None of those matches that could go either way went our way today.”
The Lady Trojans, who are going for their sixth straight team tennis title, were boosted by Huskey’s consistency. The senior will face top-seeded Chrstine Kharkevitch of Second Baptist at 10 a.m. today as Huskey attempts to reach the finals after three consecutive third-place finishes.
“She’s going to have a tough match,” Booth said of Huskey. “She’s going to have to play her match of the year to take this girl down.”
Huskey had little trouble in her first two rounds, knocking out Berkeley Brown of San Antonio TMI (6-0, 6-2) and Lauren Sibley of Fort Worth Southwest Christian (6-1, 6-2) with relative ease.
The All Saints boys did not equal the success of their female counterparts on Wednesday. Of the four teams to advance, only the doubles duo of Nick Booth and Tom DeBoer won a match, and they were knocked out in the quarterfinals.
“This is my first time in 12 years we don’t have anybody playing on the second day,” coach Booth said of her boys’ team. “The competition is just unbelievable. My hat’s off to all the competition. There was just a lot of good tennis.”
Booth-DeBoer beat Lubbock Trinity Christian’s Evan Johnson-Alexander Shaw 6-4, 6-3 in the opening round. In the second round, the Trojans failed to capitalize on three set points before losing a first-set tiebreaker on the way to a 7-6, 2-6, 6-3 loss to second-seeded Santiago Fajer Botaya-Kouros Sazegar of Awty International.
The other Trojans doubles group of Blake Birtcher and Luke Edgemon were dispatched in the first round by Austin Hedrick-Austin Rohwer of Midland Christian, 6-4, 6-1.
Both of All Saints’ boys singles entrants were knocked out in the first round. Brad Robertson was edged 5-7, 6-3, 6-1 by Awty International’s Giancarlo Vega in a 3.5-hour match. Perry Clements lost 6-3, 6-1 to San Antonio Christian’s Raul Membreno.
With the Trojans’ struggles, Dallas Parish Episcopal, which has two doubles teams and a singles netter still alive, appears primed to repeat their boys team championship.
In the TAPPS 3A tournament, which was held at Robinson High School, Scammahorn dropped one game in his two matches, coasting into the semifinals.
The top-seeded Guard sophomore will face Kevin Lee of San Antonio Keystone at 10 a.m. today at Waco Regional Tennis Center. Lee is the only unseeded player left in the draw.
Scammahorn breezed past New Braunfels Christian’s Travis Isley 6-0, 6-0 and took another easy win over Beaumont Legacy Christian’s Nick Wilcox, 6-1, 6-0.
Fellow Brook Hill netter Phillip Kitt won his first-round match against Austin Regents’ Ben Adams, 6-7, 6-3, 6-3. Kitt was then bounced by top-seeded Mason Cruse of Bay Area Christian, 6-0, 6-3.
ETCA had seven netters competing in the TAPPS 1A tournament held at Waco McLennan Community College, but none were able to win a match.
In girls doubles, the Lady Panthers duo of Mary Lightfoot and Ryann Money was edged 4-6, 7-5, 6-4 by Sara Capps-Janie Caroll of San Antonio River City Believers.
ETCA’s Samantha Phillips and Cora Woodard also saw a first round exit, losing to Port Arthur Ridgewood’s Shaina Escobedo-Jordan Martin 6-2, 6-0.
In girls singles, Lady Panther Lauren Smitherman fell in the opening round to Joanna Walzebuck of Tomball The Woodlands Prep, 6-0, 6-0.
On the boys side, ETCA’s DeAnte Nails lost a first-round, three-set match to Spring Providence Classical, 6-2, 3-6, 6-2.