Memorial tennis clinches 12th straight regional title


Little has gone according to plan in 2020, including the cancellation of the spring tennis season due to COVID-19.

But at least one result resembles the previous 11 years. The Memorial tennis team is a regional champion.

The Mustangs defeated Tompkins 10-2 in a meeting of undefeated, state-ranked teams to win the Region III-6A championship Nov. 11 at Tompkins High School.

Memorial, the defending Class 6A champion, faces 2018 champion Round Rock Westwood in the state semifinals. The match is scheduled for 1 p.m., Nov. 14 at Texas A&M University, with the winner returning Nov. 17 for the state final.

The semifinal is a showdown of No. 2 Memorial and No. 1 Westwood, as ranked by the Texas Tennis Coaches Association. The Warriors make their third state tournament appearance.

The other side of the state bracket features 18-time state semifinalist and No. 3-ranked Plano West, and No. 6 The Woodlands.

Memorial is a regular at state, making its 13th trip. There is no shortage of experience on the roster, with 22 players back from a group that defeated Southlake Carroll and Plano West, both by 10-7 margins, for its second title in three years.

“We only graduated a few,” Memorial coach Budd Booth said. “Most of those kids are back this year. I think we have a fairly young team, a mix, some seniors and some young kids. It’s a solid team, just like last year.”

Memorial repeated as District 17-6A champion and drew a bye in the bi-district round of the Region III-6A playoffs. The Mustangs defeated 19-6A No. 3 seed Katy Taylor 10-1, 17-6A No. 4 seed Cy-Fair 10-0 and 22-6A champion Deer Park 10-0 to advance.

Though the score indicated otherwise, Memorial faced a challenge from No. 7 Tompkins.

“These guys were tough,” Booth said. “It was a tough assignment. I knew it was going to be a good match, and it was. All the matches were pretty close. Tompkins has a great team and they’ve had a great season. The score was 10-2, but the matches were very close. I’m proud of our kids.”

Memorial was undefeated in girls matches, returning a stellar group that provided seven victories in the 2019 state final. The most competitive match was Drew Morris’ 2-6, 6-2, 10-7 victory against Ava Melaerts in No. 1 singles.

Morris and Aleksandra Dimitrijevic teamed up to sweep the No. 1 girls doubles match. Sofia Mazzucato and Hallie Jeffers won in the No. 2 spot, while Rashmi Singal and Tara Ahmadi completed the sweep, all by 6-1, 6-0 scores.

Chase Scholz and Kylie Imperial won a competitive mixed doubles match 6-4, 6-1. Eric Kuo and Yann Zigman won 6-4, 6-4 at No. 2 for the Mustangs’ boys doubles victory.

Corbin Barrus and Gavin Simpson almost gave Memorial another doubles win, taking Santiago Medina and Mihir Amte to a tiebreaker.

“I think our boys doubles at No. 1 played excellent,” Booth said. “That team they played was really good and to go to a tiebreaker with them was really close. Our girls just kind of dominated. Our mixed doubles pulled off a great match. That was a very important match. For us to get up 5-2 early on was key.”

Memorial will continue to face some of the state’s top players as it seeks its third state title in four years. The Mustangs have played with the elite every year since 2009, finally breaking through for their first championship in 2017.

As this calendar year winds down, Memorial tennis is in a familiar position.


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