BURNET — In their last competition before the District 8-3A play begins, the Burnet High School varsity tennis team came away with some bragging rights.
Senior Laura Servise and the doubles team of senior Stewart Berg and Will Gerdes won titles at the Del Valle Tennis Tournament Friday. Three other players, freshman Ali Simon, senior Adam Brandenburg and sophomore Zane Freeman, reached the semifinals.
Servise, a recent signee with tennis powerhouse Lee College, captured the singles title by losing only one game in three sets.
“Laura continued to dominate,” said coach Tammy Hullum. “In the finals, she struggled some with her mental game but regrouped to take the super tiebreaker easily. Many coaches came up to me and told me how much they enjoyed watching her play. There was always a crowd gathered at her court. Even though this wasn’t her best tournament as far as play goes, she will be ready for district.”
The veteran Berg and varsity newcomer Gerdes teamed together for the first time this season in competition. The duo swept past Bastrop, 8-3, and Lockhart, 8-5, and knocked off host Del Valle, 7-5, 6-2, to win the doubles title.
“Berg has had experience at varsity-level doubles, but Gerdes is young and has just started playing varsity-level doubles,” Hullum said. “Last year he and his doubles partner Zane Freeman won the junior varsity doubles competition at district.”
The coach said the two complemented each other with their respective strengths.
“Berg had excellent passing shots, and Gerdes played steady at the net.” Hullum said. “Berg was able to direct Gerdes in play, and they worked excellent as a team.”
Simon, a freshman who had posted wins against Class 4A and 5A schools earlier this season, defeated a player from Bastrop and another from Hutto before losing to Taylor player in the semifinals.
“Ali hasn’t played tennis since she was young but has come very far this year and continues to improve,” Hullum said. “She is young and has a hard time predicting shots and moving to them but with experience, she will get there. She is very coachable.”
The Burnet skipper said that Brandenburg played extremely well in his 3-8 semifinal loss to the Super Champs ranked opponent from Pflugerville Connally. Brandenburg defeated a Taylor player, 8-5, and one from Hutto, 8-0, in the earlier rounds.
“Adam Brandenburg continues to improve every week,” Hullum said. “He has a really big first serve and a second serve that many find hard to handle. He plays well at the baseline but can come in on shots and make winners at the net. He can change his game easily for a win.”
Hullum described Freeman, the other Burnet semifinalist, as a tremendous talent with a bright future. Freeman defeated an Austin Crockett player and one from Taylor by identical 8-3 scores before falling to a Bastrop player, 5-8.
“Zane is a player many would love to have,” Hullum said. “He has dedication and a great mental game. Don’t let his size fool you. He is quick, can hit from the baseline, loves coming to the net and has a really soft touch when needed. He is a sophomore, so he is one to watch for several years.”
Freshman Shawn Chambers played his way into the consolation semifinals. Chambers lost to a Lockhart player, 5-8, in his opener, bounced back to upend an athlete from Manor, 8-3, but fell in the next round to a Hutto opponent, 5-8.
“I’m looking forward to the district tournament in Llano (Monday and Tuesday),” the Burnet coach said. “Laura should come in as the No. 1 seed as well as Stewart and Will. In boys’ singles, Adam and Zane will be fighting for a one, two or three seed. It all will be decided on (today) at the district seed meeting. Because this is their first year at district, I will have many new players seeing a step-up in competition. They will be playing junior varsity this year. They are Simon, freshmen Chambers, Bodie Menchaca, Blayne Gilmore, Dalton Greenway and Clay Billac and sophomores Meranda Younger and Weston Smith.”