Coming into this season fresh off the multiple State titles gained by a selection of players, the varsity tennis team has so far gone undefeated besides an 8-10 loss to rival Lake Travis. This past week, the Chaps added three more wins to their list: 10-9 against Kingwood High School, 10-9 against Vandegrift, and 16-3 against Stephen F. Austin. Each of these wins, especially against teams like Vandegrift who are also doing well in the district, are very important in order for the team to continue climbing closer and closer to their goals.
“The District tournament is in a couple of weeks, so our goal is to win District and continue on to the playoffs,” coach Alex Owen said. “Then advance to Regionals and move to State like we did last year.”
With District coming up Oct. 10, the two matches in the next few weeks against Anderson and Cy Ranch are very crucial to the team staying on its path toward State. Despite there being many high hopes of gaining more wins and titles, the team is not changing much in how they prepare. The players and coaching staff are focusing on getting the team to work as a cohesive unit to be better suited to win against any opponent it faces.
“Every year the team dynamics are different,” Owen said, “so it’s just dealing with personalities and different dynamics of this year’s team versus last year’s team. Trying to get the right people playing in the right spots. Every year is different, but there is not a huge strategy change. We’re just working hard and trying to get the right combination of people.”
Last years State champion, senior Roger Chou, is also not changing much in order to try to uphold his status. Roger is making sure to continue working on his game and improving with each passing day. While many in his position would have trouble putting the pressure of trying to win State another consecutive year out of their focus, Roger has no trouble letting go.
“It’s funny actually,” Roger said. “ I don’t really feel any more pressure as a State champion than I already did. I treat every opponent the same, regardless of their skill level or previous results against them. No matter what titles I have, the past isn’t going to help me when I step onto the court for a new match. I plan to approach the team and spring seasons this way, as well as the rest of my tennis career.”
Junior Keegan McCain is approaching the season with a similar viewpoint. During last year’s State competition she placed third with her doubles partner now-graduated Alex Reinhart and hopes to do even better this year in both doubles and singles matches. As the season goes on, Keegan hopes to improve her game from her performance last year in order to reach the goals she has set for herself.
“This year I’ve started training a lot harder,” Keegan said. “Going early in the mornings and training for long hours in the afternoon has helped me focus a lot more on specific things wrong with my game. I’ve seen a big change from the matches I’ve won this year and those that I won last year by how I’ve played.”
Coming from a successful season last year, the Chaps are aiming higher and trying to make every season better than its preceding one. The team hopes to send more people to the State meet and carry on what they started last year.
“Last season in the fall, our team was the first team to reach State in nine years for Westlake,” Keegan said. “That was a huge achievement for our team. It was a hard fought ride but we did it. This year I’m going for the win at State in both the team and individual seasons. I believe that this team can do it.”