Held at Mertz Tennis Park in Corsicana and hosted by the Rice Bulldogs, the Italy Tennis team, head coached by Aidan Callahan, participated in the invitational tennis meet on Saturday.
With the weather right for tennis, players began getting called to compete and would check in to receive game info and a couple of tennis balls. The scoring was first player/team to 8 wins with no advantages for varsity competitors; first player to win 6 games with no advantages for JV competitors. In many of the matches, Italy’s novices would build early leads in their sets but inexperience made it difficult to maintain their leads.
For those Gladiators and Lady Gladiators that are involved in multiple sports, tennis practice time is few and for between. In fact, many players only had a few hours of practice before competing in the meet. With that being the case, team Italy gave it their all and will be better prepared for the district meet in two weeks.
Meet highlights for Italy:
Drenda Burk and doubles partner, Melissa Smithey, recorded Italy’s first win of the meet with a 8-4 win over Rice.
Jessica Garcia and Kaytlyn Bales achieved a 6-4 win in doubles but Bales would later team up with Alyssa Richards while Garcia joined Burk to make it to the JV Championship match.
Doubles partners Drenda Burk and Jessica Garcia competed in the JV Championship match but lost a close one, 7-5, to Rice.
Doubles partners Jase Holden and Cole Hopkins beat Wortham 8-7 in round one. 6’6" Hopkins has found two sports he can slam in.
Sierra Harris surprised herself with just a 6-4 loss to McGregor in a singles match.
A diamond in the rough, Cruz Enriquez trailed 4-0 in his opening match but closed the deficit 4-3 before losing 8-3 to Malakoff.
Jacob Lopez stormed from behind after trailing in his second match of the day, 5-0. Lopez made it a close one but eventually lost to McGregor, 8-7.
Cody Medrano was tied with Valley Mills 4-4 in his second match of the day but Valley Mills managed the win, 6-4.
Lisa Olschewsky went shot-for-shot with Malakoff in her second round but Malakoff edged out the win 6-4.
Molly Haight, who was slowed by an injured right foot, gutted out two games with doubles partner Shelbi Gilley. The savvy seniors achieved their best results in game two but Waxahachie Advantage earned the win, 8-3.
Doubles partners Kevin Roldan and Zain Byers resembled a wrestling tag team in their two matches. A combination of muscle and high-flying grace made these two competitive but Wortham held on for the first round win, 6-4, and Rice outlasted the talented tandem, 6-4, in round two.
Italy Tennis team members that competed in Corsicana:
• Drenda Burk
• Jessica Garcia
• Melissa Smithey
• Molly Haight
• Shelbi Gilley
• Alyssa Richards
• Kaytlyn Bales
• Sierra Harris
• Jessica Hernandez
• Jase Holden
• Cole Hopkins
• Kevin Roldan
• Zain Byers
• Jacob Lopez
• Jose Cruz
• Cody Medrano