The Lubbock High Tennis team qualified for the 4A State Tennis Tournament after defeating cross-town rival Monterey High School in the Regional Finals last weekend.
The Westerners, led by Coaches Mark Dotson and Vikki Rhodes, are 26-4 overall this season. After qualifying for the Regional Final a year ago and falling short to Wichita Falls Ryder, the team was determined to get over the hump this year and make it to State.
Coach Mark Dotson talked about the determination of this group:
"We decided right there last year if we had another shot we were going to take care of business and that's what we did. So we started the Spring, we set our goals and decided just writing a goal down doesn't mean anything. Are we willing to pay the price? So we basically went to work and here we go."
Over the years, Lubbock High has fallen into a rut in many people's eyes due to their elite academic standards but lack of athletic achievement. This program was determined to prove that the Westerners have some fight in them.
Coach Dotson echoed that sentiment:
"This started years ago when some of the guys decided, we can win! This is bunk that Lubbock High is smart kids but they can't win. That's just not true."
Boys Captain Elliott Abraham thinks that team unity made the difference this year:
"The thing that has really been unique about this team is the unity. We all want to play for each other and we don't want to lose for our teammates, so we go fight every match. That's the thing we fight for - each other."
In preparation for the state tournament, Coach Dotson decided to have a simple game plan, much like a former Red Raider head football coach. He wrote everything the Westerners need to do to win State on a single sheet of paper:
"Mike Leach, I love. He would pull his game plan out on a wrinkled sheet of paper. He had four plays that he could run. It's not very perfect, it's not very pretty, but I think it's going to be effective."
Lubbock High is riding a wave of momentum into the state tournament, but they know they will have to play their best tennis to have a shot at the title. If the team can survive their first match, they will likely meet five-time defending State Champion and winners of 107 straight team matches, Highland Park (Dallas). The two teams have already met once this year and LHS played them close, so they are confident in their ability to compete with the best.
The Westerners will head to College Station, Texas this Saturday at 1 p.m. and will face Montgomery High School (Houston) in their semi final match Monday.
Stay with KCBD online and on the air for post-match results.
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