Freshman breaks tie to send Tribe tennis to area round

Bi-district+champs--Tribe+tennis+defeated+Greenwood%2C+10-9%2C+for+the+championship+on+Oct.+12+in+Odessa.

Bi-district champs–Tribe tennis defeated Greenwood, 10-9, for the championship on Oct. 12 in Odessa.

  As the tension built during the tennis bi-district championship, one player was left on the court to decide who took the win home. Freshman Haylee Villanueva had to break the 9-9 tie with Greenwood. This win would determine if the tennis team would advance into area for the fall season. 

  “We were ahead 8-5 when Greenwood came and tied the match,” Coach Kendra Duncan said. “There was one match left, and we were tied at nine all.” 

  The bi-district game was full of suspense as Villanueva’s last match would determine their victory. 

  “Haylee and I were the last two on the court,” senior Michaela Holley said. “I watched as she climbed back, and then I won my match when she reached her final tiebreaker. It was really stressful to watch because Haylee is a really amazing player but playing for two hours straight can take a lot out of you.” 

  Villanueva won the tie breaker leading the team to win 10-9 over Greenwood. 

  “I was really happy when I won,” Villanueva said. “I lost the first set, and I didn’t think I would be able to come back. My teammates and coaches started to encourage me. With their support, I came back and won the match.”

  The team celebrated Villanueva’s win.

  “I felt pretty happy and excited when I saw Haylee win,” senior Franz Fehr said. “With her being such a young player and winning such a close match, it was an exciting moment to watch.” 

  The tennis team could not believe they had made it to area, as the team lost many to graduation last year and the new seniors had to step up. 

  “It felt pretty good to make it to area,” senior Alyssa Gonzales said. “I was a little surprised because most of our team were freshman, but overall I think we were all proud of one another.” 

  The underclassmen on the team filled in the spots to make the team advance. 

  “I did not have high hopes for the season,” Fehr said. “We seniors had to step up and take the lead, but the underclassmen were great and knew what to do.” 

  Even though the tennis team fell short at area against San Elizario, 10-5,  in Fort Stockton, the fall season brought them together. 

  “The way we supported each other definitely brought us closer,” senior Danni Klassen said. “The team support we had was awesome. Hearing those cheers on the court really bring confidence during matches.”

  Regardless of the wins and losses, the team became a family after adjusting to their new roles with a new coach. 

  “The love for the sport was what made the tennis team become a family,” Klassen said. “No matter if we won or we lost, we had each other’s support. Despite having so many new people, we were able to become comfortable with each other in a short amount of time.”

Tribe tennis will take on San Elizario at 1 p.m. on Oct. 15 in Fort Stockton for the area championship.