MARBLE FALLS — When the last ball hit the net signaling the end of the match, Marble Falls High School tennis players Kyleigh Ann Futrell and Devon Dockery screamed with delight and gave each other bear hugs while parents, friends, teammates and fans cheered Wednesday.
IN PHOTO: Marble Falls High School head tennis coach Tim Bourke (center) congratulates junior Kyleigh Ann Futrell (left) and senior Devon Dockery on winning the District 25-4A girls doubles championship. Courtesy photo
After all, Futrell, a junior, and Dockery, a senior, gave the community a District 25-4A championship in the sport, a title that used to be the norm in tennis during the 1980s.
And the duo made it look easy by knocking off Lampasas, 6-3, 6-3.
Not to be outdone, senior Laura Vasquez finished third in girls singles and cried tears of joy thanks to a 6-4, 6-3 victory.
Last year she was No. 14 on the tennis ladder and used the summer to work on her game. She was No. 4 on the ladder this season.
“It means a lot,” she said. “A lot of hard work, dedication and love for the sport.”
What made the victory more special for Futrell and Dockery was the fact it happened at the brand new high school tennis courts in front of so many who have been there every step of the way.
“We came out with an aggressive, positive attitude and wanting it,” Dockery said. “We’ve been preparing. We felt ready.”
“We played to win,” she said. “We get up. We stay up. That’s how we are.”
Though the Lady Mustangs lost the first game of the match, they broke right back to tie it then raced to a 3-1 lead. Dockery held serve for a 4-1 advantage.
The Lady Badgers won the next two games, so during the changeover head coach Tim Bourke spoke to the Lady Mustang duo.
They captured the next game but found themselves in a tug of war in the eighth game.
It included eight deuces. Dockery served the ball to the far left side, forcing the returner to go cross court and hit out of bounds.
“Typically Kyleigh Ann serves well, regardless,” Bourke said. “Devon was the difference in the match with her serves. She held serve when it got ugly. Devon didn’t let us down and kept giving Kyleigh Ann what she needed to put it away at the net.”
Then Marble Falls never looked back, using that momentum to win eight games in a row.
“Take it one point at a time,” Dockery said. “We told each other we had to keep our momentum up. We had them down, we were going to keep them down.”
Lampasas simply had no answer during that span as Futrell got her first serves in and Dockery used the overhead slam as a weapon.
“That was as clean of a match they’ve played all year,” Bourke said.
Vasquez said it took 15 deuces in the deciding game for her to claim the win.
Between points, the senior said she kept repeating the same thing.
“Keep it calm, breathe it out,” she said. “One point at a time.”
Finally, the match ended on a double fault.
Vasquez said she was overcome with emotion because she thought of the hours she spent on the court to earn that bronze medal.
“It’s been a tough year and coming from 14th to 4th,” she said, “it was surprising for me at the beginning.”
Bourke appreciated her work, too.
“Laura is any coach’s dream,” he said. “No one has come farther. She is an inspiration to me.”