Marler held a 5-2 lead in the second set against San Angelo Central’s Grace Gideon in the semifinals of the District 2-6A tennis tournament.
Gideon inched her way back en route to a 6-3, 7-6 victory over Marler on Thursday at the Bush Tennis Center, but the Permian senior received plenty of confidence in the process.
“I hope I gave her a good match,” Marler said a smile. “I know she has a tough one (today) as well. I was pretty happy with how I played. I wish that second set would have turned out better, but for the most part, I felt it was a good match and I just need to learn from it.”
Permian head coach Meliton Morales said Marler showed plenty of grit when she jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the second set after she had dropped the first 6-3.
Gideon battled back to tie the second 5-5, but Marler completed her serve opportunity to take a 6-5 advantage. Gideon countered to force a tiebreaker. The top seed from San Angelo Central didn’t let her opportunity slip and Gideon picked up the tiebreaker victory to win the match.
“Avery’s play was fantastic,” Morales said. “She pretty much embodied determination today. That’s what put her so close with Gideon. That was fantastic to watch.”
Though she isn’t in the championship match, Marler is familiar with the final day of the district tournament.
A year ago at the District 3-6A tournament, Marler finished third in girls singles. She lost to Anna Parkinson in the semifinals. Marler didn’t receive a playback opportunity for a spot in the regional tournament, because Parkinson finished runner-up.
Marler and Parkinson met again, but this time the Permian senior enacted a bit of revenge in the quarterfinals. The Permian senior defeated Parkinson in straight sets 6-4, 6-3. Marler will see Wolfforth Frenship’s Taylor Brown for the third-place match.
“I was pretty happy with how I played today,” Marler said. “I’m going to try to get mentally ready for (today). I have a little bit of confidence and a little bit of nerves.”
Of the 10 Permian entries, two have reached the final day of the tournament.
Zack Langham and Carlin Van will play in the third-place match of boys doubles. The Panthers duo was the No. 1 seed and received a first-round bye. Langham and Van defeated a Wolfforth Frenship duo 7-5, 6-2, but ran into trouble against Chase Teeple and Jay Jaber of Amarillo Tascosa.
Teeple and Jaber rolled to quick victories in the first round and quarterfinals — losing a total of six games. The Amarillo Tascosa duo defeated Langham and Van in straight sets 6-4, 6-3. Langham and Van plays Jack Wall and Cole Carringer of Midland High for the third-place match.
“I feels good, because we still have a chance make regionals and that’s one of our goals right now,” Van said.
Odessa High struggled in the district tournament as the team went 0-10 in the first round.
The Bronchos and Lady Bronchos won a combined 34 games in 10 matches. The only team to win a set was Vasu Gupta and Karris Alvarez in mixed doubles.
The second and final day of the tournament begins at 9 a.m. today at the Bush Tennis Center.
Marler is the only one of the three Permian players that has reached the final day of the tournament. Langham and Van both lost in the quarterfinals a year ago.
“For Avery, it’s going to be a big plus, because she has experience on that second day,” Morales said. “She’s been here before and knows what it’s about. She’s going to come out and take care of business.
“With Zack and Carlin, we just have to get off to a good start and then the day should roll well for us.”
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