The Mason Tennis Team is once again well represented at the state tournament in Austin on May 9-10. Twelve players made their way to College Station last Wednesday and Thursday for the Region IV Tennis tournament. All twelve players medaled, with ten advancing on to state.
This was a great showing by all the players. We won four of the five events and place third in the other. Taking first places were the singles players Makenzie Mitchell and Matt Banner. Taking first in boys and girls doubles were the teams of Paden Hemphill / Andrew Willis and the team of Traci Jordan and Margaret Lemke.
Mitchell and Banner dominated their opponents throughout the tournament. Makenzie lost only five games in the entire tournament with four of those coming in the final match as she ousted three time state qualifier, Ashley Salazar of Knippa 6-1,6-3 in the finals. Matt lost only eight games in the tournament, but once again the finals was a match-up with a fine freshman boy from Knippa. Matt won that match 6-2,6-4. Both opponents tried everything in their arsenal against the two-two-time state champs, but both Mason singles players were too dominating.
In boy’s doubles, both of the Mason teams had some tough sets in the early rounds, but overcame nerves to advance to the finals against each other without dropping a set. Hemphill and Willis controlled the match from the outset over teammates Andy Duarte and Trey Schwertner winning 6-2,6-3 to take their first regional championship.
The girl’s doubles teams had little trouble advancing to the finals. Jordan and Lemke won the finals match 6-4,6-3 over the junior team of Kaitlyn Cavness and Amanda Hudson. This was a fine match between four fine players, but it set up a bad situation, as Cavness and Hudson had to come back a couple of hours later to play a "playback match" with a very good Shiner team. Mason dominated the first set 6-1 before we took a poorly timed restroom break. When the girls returned, Shiner came out with both barrels loaded taking the next set 2-6. This set up the decisive third set to determine the last ticket to Austin. It was a battle back and forth until it reached 6-6 in the set. Shiner jumped out to a 5-1 lead in the best of 7. A well placed return by Cavness and a couple of putaway volleys by Hudson recaptured the lead at 7-6. Then the war really began. Shiner held three match points before Mason finally took the tie-breaker 10-8 to take second and their trip to Austin.
In mixed doubles, the Mason team of Tyler Chew and Emily Ellebracht played solid tennis on Wednesday while advancing to the semi-finals. But it seemed that we forgot to get out of bed Thursday morning as we were dominated by a solid Menard team 6-0,6-0 in the semi’s. We still were not too concerned as we felt the Menard team would also dominate Sabinal in the finals, but the young freshmen team was unable to cope with the mind games played by the veteran Sabinal team. Their third set loss prohibited Mason from having a chance at a playback.
The team will again be playing at Lakeway World of Tennis in Austin on Monday and Tuesday, May 9-10. We hope Mason will once again turn out in full force as we attempt to add to the list of champions from Mason.