2017-04-21 / Sports

Doubling down at regionals

Two Lampasas duos advance to state tennis; girls win bracket
BY JEFF LOWE
DISPATCH RECORD

Nora Lawson serves during her semifinals match with Cassidy Gillis against China Spring. Nora Lawson serves during her semifinals match with Cassidy Gillis against China Spring.  For the first time in coach Kenneth Peiser’s 18-year tenure, Lampasas qualified its doubles teams for the state tournament in the individual tennis season.

Lady Badgers Nora Lawson and Cassidy Gillis teamed up to win the regional tournament, held Monday and Tuesday in Bryan.

Timothy Cavalieri/Garrett McGuire advance as the runner-up boys’ doubles team.

With Cavalieri/McGuire’s comeback win in the playback match, “the crowd went crazy,” Peiser said.

“From everyone pacing the grounds, churning stomachs, headaches and all-around nervous anxiety, to excitement and relief that they were able to come back and win was a great feeling for all present from Lampasas,” the coach said. “Finishing up at 8:30 p.m. made for a long trip home, and they were all tired.”


Garrett McGuire poaches a ball at the net during his doubles match with Timothy Cavalieri on Tuesday. McGuire/Cavalieri went 3-1 in the tournament. After losing the finals, they won a playback match to advance to state as the runner-up. 
JEFF LOWE | DISPATCH RECORD Garrett McGuire poaches a ball at the net during his doubles match with Timothy Cavalieri on Tuesday. McGuire/Cavalieri went 3-1 in the tournament. After losing the finals, they won a playback match to advance to state as the runner-up. JEFF LOWE | DISPATCH RECORD Megan Dwamena, Megan Hunter and Calum Folks also competed at regionals but did not advance to state.

Cavalieri/McGuire were the top seed in boys’ doubles and earned a first-round bye. Next, they faced China Spring’s No. 2 team in a tense, three-set match.

China Spring won the first set, but Lampasas came back to win the back-and-forth match. There were two match points along the way, and Lampasas prevailed in the tiebreaker to win the match 3-6, 6-2, 7-6 (7-5).

Gillis/Lawson were seeded second. After a bye, they eased past Huffman Hargrave in straight sets, 6-0, 6-0.

The doubles semifinals on Tuesday started after about a three-hour rain delay in the morning.

Unlike on Monday, Cavalieri/McGuire dominated their semifinal match, while Gillis/Lawson won a closer, three-set contest.

Gillis/Lawson took the first set 6-1 against China Spring.

The Lady Badger duo “had the usual pressure jitters and fell in the second set 1-6, before winning the third set 6-1,” Peiser said.

“All players, when playing at higher levels of tournament play, get the nerves and have to learn to deal with them in their own way,” the coach said. “Playing a lot of matches is the only way to cure these jitters, getting used to many different situations.”

In the finals against a team from Palestine, Gillis/ Lawson handled the first set with ease, taking it 6-2. Another rain delay occurred while the Lady Badgers were ahead 5-2 in the second set, but they returned to win 6-3.

Cavalieri/McGuire started Tuesday morning with a convincing win over Madisonville at 6-0, 6-3.

The finals match was against the Taylor doubles team that Lampasas had beaten three times in a row, including most recently in the district tournament.

Lampasas fell in the first set 4-6, but played with more confidence in the second to take it 6-2. The Badgers trailed 2-3 in the third set when the rain came.

After the delay, Cavalieri/ McGuire “went back on [the court] and just could not muster the shots and fell 3-6, now putting us in a playback situation,” Peiser said.

China Spring beat Madisonville, which meant China Spring and Lampasas faced off for second place.

“Our guys were mentally down after losing the finals but came out after their hour break to creep by in the first set 6-4,” Peiser said.

China Spring then won the second set 6-1 and led 3-0 in the third set.

“Four years of practice and matches and games in class kicked off some inspiration and determination in Cavalieri, which sparked McGuire, and they slowly started coming back,” the Lampasas coach said.

A winning shot up the middle made it 7-5.

Dwamena was eliminated in the second round of girls’ singles. She defeated a China Spring player 6-3, 6-2 in the first round, then lost to the No. 3 seed from Palestine.

“Megan played good but could not keep up the consistency of her opponent,” Peiser said after the 3-6, 2-6 loss.

“Megan Hunter played good in her first match against Smithville,” the coach said. “She started out strong but got frustrated after some shots did not fall.”

The 4-6, 2-6 loss eliminated Hunter in the opening round.

Calum Folks had to play the No. 4 seed from Smithville right off the bat.

“Calum kept his cool and swung through good, but just could not match the pace and shot selection of his opponent,” Peiser said.

Folks was eliminated in straight sets, and his Smithville opponent finished as a runner-up to advance to state in boys’ singles.

Cavalieri is the only senior on the team to qualify for regionals this year, and the other six qualifiers are eligible to return next season.

The state meet is set for May 18-19 at Texas A&M University.

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