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HIGH SCHOOL TENNIS: Permian downs Odessa High in district finale - Odessa American: Tennis

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HIGH SCHOOL TENNIS: Permian downs Odessa High in district finale

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Posted: Tuesday, October 3, 2017 10:53 pm

Both the Permian and Odessa High tennis teams knew that their crosstown-rivalry matchup Tuesday would be the last competitive match they’d play the rest of the year.

The Bronchos and Panthers had each previously defeated only Midland Lee in District 2-6A play and knew they wouldn’t be advancing to the playoffs.

Permian used superior doubles play to take a five-match lead into the singles portion of the match — which the Panthers also handily controlled — finishing the day with a 16-3 win over Odessa High at the Ratliff Stadium Tennis Complex.

The match was also Permian’s last of the season. Odessa High (8-9 overall, 1-5 District 2-6A) plays one more time — on Oct. 23 against Reagan County at home.

“I saw their fighting spirit,” Permian head coach Meliton Morales said. “It’s a tough thing to know that you’re no longer in the running and to still be motivated to do better — that kind of really goes to show you that the kids want to be better than they were yesterday. And that’s a big factor in building our program forward and moving forward as a whole.”

Permian (7-7, 2-4) won six of seven doubles matches with the lone Odessa High victors being the No. 2 doubles team of Nazareth Franco and Yukimi Chiba.

The Panthers’ No. 1 girls doubles duo of senior Kristen Woodard and junior Nelia Williams defeated Odessa High’s Azaria Quezada and Jazmine Arenivas 6-3, 6-0. The win finishes Woodard and Williams’ district slate at six wins and one loss — which came to a pair from district-champion Amarillo Tascosa.

Woodard and Williams both said after their matches that although nothing is set for the spring individual tennis season, they’d like to continue competing as a pair.

“I think for one it’s OHS and they’re our big rivals so we always have a good match against them,” Williams said about her team’s performance. “We always want to win really badly. We wanted it and that’s why we were on our A game today.”

In the 12 singles matches, Permian held a distinct advantage, winning 10 of the 12 contests. Permian’s No. 1 male player — junior Gage Kemp — defeated Odessa High’s Xavier Martinez 6-0, 6-0.

“That was probably one of my better matches I’ve played this year,” Kemp said. “It’s kind of a new experience for me — being my first time being No. 1 — it’s been a real eye-opener. I’ve played people that are way better than me. I’m not used to that; to be able to finish the season off with that big of a bang was absolutely amazing for me.”

The near-five-hour match ended with Permian’s Marissa Williams and Franco competing in a long third-set tiebreaker — which Williams eventually won 17-15.

“They’re just a couple steps ahead in a couple little things as far as point construction and getting back in the match when they’re down or putting it away when they’re up,” Odessa High head coach Josh Moore said about his crosstown rivals. “We’ve closed ground on them a little bit this year.

“We’ve got one more match but for all intensive purposes, we ended the season on a real good note as far as fighting and competitiveness.”

Morales will now give his kids the next week and a half off before the Panthers shift their focus to the spring season.

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