Three Big 7 teams recently wrapped up successful seasons on the court as part of the 2020 UIL team tennis competition.
The sport, made up of co-ed teams, face off against other schools in a series of matches (19 in all) with each match counting as a win in the quest to get the 10 wins needed to secure the overall victory.
The 19 matches consist of six boys singles matches, six girls singles matches, three boys doubles matches, three girls doubles matches and a single mixed doubles match.
In District 30-5A; the Mission Veterans squad, under the direction of third year coach Aaron Garza, finished their regular season with a 3 – 1 record. That was good enough for a second place finish and a trip to the playoffs where the team was eliminated by Gregory-Portland in the first round. Garza was assisted by Maria Barreiro.
The team was led by junior Andrew Reyes and sophomore Isabella Garza. Reyes went unbeaten in his district boys singles matches while Garza went 3 – 1 in hers. Reyes and classmate Natasha Charles went 3 – 0 in their district mixed doubles matches and Garza, along with junior Aliyah Rodriguez, did the same in the girls doubles contests.
In District 31-5A both Sharyland ISD teams recorded regular and post season success despite facing new competition with the addition of teams from the McAllen ISD to the district.
The Rattlers finished second in the newly configured district with an overall record of 6 – 1 extending their long history of post season appearances. The team advanced to the third round of the playoffs before being eliminated by Corpus Christi Veterans.
The girls team, coached by Rosario Palacios – Cavazos, was awarded the girls team district championship for their dominating play. Five players went undefeated with 7 – 0 records in the girls’ singles division: seniors Andrea Fernandez, Marcela Garza and Mariela Castellanos along with juniors Monica Castellanos and Jackie Rage. Three groups went 7 – 0 in the girls doubles division as well: Fernandez and Monica Castellanos, Rage and Mariela Castellanos and juniors Alondra Lopez and Camila Trevino.
The Rattlers mixed doubles team of senior Ana Vera and freshman Fredrich Buquel posted a 6 – 1 district mark. Buquel went 4 -2 in boys’ singles play for coach Mike Salinas during district matches as did Luis Garza and Eduardo Rage. The boys doubles contingent of Hector Valenzuela and Kevin Von Nacher went 4 – 2.
The Pioneer Diamondbacks advanced from District 31-5A as well. The teams 6 – 2 record was good for third place and the group advanced to the second round of the playoffs before being eliminated by Corpus Christi Veterans. 2020 marked the fifth year in a row the team has advanced into the postseason.
Freshman Sarah Lagrange and sophomore Alexis Villegas were the team’s top two girls singles players for coach Jennifer Kaltenbach. Sophomore Eyden Gonzalez and junior Jennifer Olivarez joined with Lagrange and Villegas to lead the teams’ girls doubles contingent. The Diamondbacks top mixed doubles group consisted of senior Alyssa Cantu and junior Luis Barragan.
The boys side of the Diamondbacks team, coached by Ricardo Rivera, lost only once in district play. In addition to his play for the squads’ mixed doubles entry, Barragan teamed up with senior Angel Martinez in boys’ doubles. Other team members included seniors Alejandro Acosta, Joseph Hernandez, and Joel Rodriguez along with junior Tristan De Anda and sophomore Tony Leal.