MARBLE FALLS — Few were surprised when Marble Falls High School girls doubles team Ashley Stallard and Madison Dyer finished as the District 25-4A runner-up March 27-28.
The two will now play in the Class 4A Region IV Tournament April 16-17 at the Blossom Center, 722 Isom Road in San Antonio.
But what might shock people is the district tournament was only the third event the two played together.
“It was definitely what I was shooting for,” Marble Falls head coach Jeff Savage said. “My No. 1 goal was to get a player or team out of district.”
Stallard, a senior, and Dyer, a sophomore, won the Pflugerville Hendrickson and the Pflugerville Connally tournaments without losing a match.
When Savage attended the district coaches meeting to seed the singles and doubles teams, he showed the Mustangs’ records. Based off that, Stallard and Dyer earned the No. 2 seed, which gave them a bye to start the district tournament in Dripping Springs. They went 2-1 during the event.
It also helped that many were familiar with Stallard, the daughter of Horseshoe Bay Resort Director of Tennis Michelle Stallard, who helped Faith Academy of Marble Falls win three consecutive Class 2A state titles, Savage said.
Savage had several reasons for pairing the two.
“They play a lot of tennis outside of school,” he said. “They play a lot of (United States Tennis Association) matches. And (because of) their chemistry.”
Pairing them also is an advantage because Stallard is left-handed and Dyer is right-handed. That plays a factor on where they line up to receive serve and forces opponents to adjust, the coach said.
Savage would know. What helped him and former tennis partner Tyler Isabell finish second at the Class 3A boys doubles state tournament in 1995 was that Isabel was a lefty and Savage was a righty.
“That really helps as far as strategy,” he said. “Opponents see a totally different serve.”
He hopes to get the duo seeded at the regional tournament.