Inside the Program: Houston Memorial Tennis heads to State for 11th-straight year
Houston Memorial tennis has reached dynasty level.
The Mustangs battled through multiple weather delays and bitter cold weather on Friday to overcome a 4-3 deficit and defeat Seven Lakes 10-5 to clinch the Region III-6A Championship.
With the win, Memorial clinched its 11th-straight trip to the UIL Team Tennis State Tournament, which is set to begin on Wednesday in College Station.
"I think it is a dynasty," Memorial coach Budd Booth said. "I just think the kids have experience from the past and they are up for it. For these big matches they really play well. They pick up their game and they play well. They work hard all year and they prepare for this. I'm proud of them, the entire team."
Houston Memorial (17-0) is set to face Southlake Carroll (17-5) on Wednesday at 3 p.m. in College Station. If the Mustangs win that match, they will play for a state title on Thursday at 3 p.m.
.@MHShouston tennis receiving their Region III Championship trophy 🏆 #TrophySzn@MHSMustangsBC@sbisdathletics@UIL_AD@abc13sports@joeagleason@MustangVBall@MHSMustangHoops@SBISD#VYPECampuspic.twitter.com/MVBqgO5o3h
— VYPE Houston (@vypehouston) October 25, 2019
Coming out of doubles, Memorial trailed 4-3, with the mixed doubles victory by Seven Lakes being the difference.
Once in singles, wins by Aleksandra Dimitrijevic, Sofia Mazzucato and Rashmi Singal pushed the Mustangs into the 6-4 lead. Seven Lakes would fight back as Leo Lian won his boys singles match, making it 6-5.
That would be the last match Seven Lakes would win.
Drew Morris defeated Anna Bouleau 2-0 (6-1, 6-3), Graydon Buckingham beat Brian Ho 2-0 (6-4, 6-1) and Natalijia Dimitrijevic defeated Kathryn Sturgis 2-1 (6-1, 3-6, 11-9) to give Memorial the 9-5 lead and one win from state.
Eric Kuo's clean sweep of David Zhu ended up being the clincher, giving Memorial the 10-5 victory and the ticket to state.
"I'm really happy we are [going back to state]," Memorial senior Kiran Singal said. "It's a good feeling all the time, even though we've been going for so many years."
Memorial will head to College Station this week in hopes to take back their state championship crown.
The Mustangs last won a title in 2017 - ironically the last time the Astros won the World Series - but fell in the state title match for Round Rock Westwood a year ago.
"We want it back just like the Astros do," Booth said with a laugh. "We definitely want to get it back. It's going to be tough, there's going to be some really good teams there. It's going to be a battle. It's going to come down to a few tiebreakers, whoever wins those is going to take it."