Following a third-place District 16-4A finish during the fall tennis season with a roster full of new faces, Brownwood head coach Dave Cunha wants to see continued improvement during the spring.
The Lions and Lady Lions open the spring campaign today at the Granbury Invitational, one of seven events prior to the District 16-4A tournament which will be held at Copperas Cove on April 12-13.
“With as young as our team is, I’m just looking for us to get some experience for next year,” Cunha said. “I want to see us keep improving. We have almost everybody coming back and we should be stronger next year. We finished third in the fall and we definitely want to improve on that next year.”
Brownwood’s roster is not completely full of underclassmen, however. Junior Keeley Brown is the defending 16-4A girls singles champion and has made the regional tournament in each of the past two seasons.
“Keeley has been a regional qualifier the last two years so she’ll have a strong chance of doing that again,” Cunha said. “She’d like to improve on her results and get a little bit further.
“We also have a couple of kids that were first-team all-district in the fall, and we have two seniors that we’d like to see get out of district and make it to regionals.”
First-team all-district selections from the fall included Brown and Terrell Morelock in girls doubles and Will Thomas in boys singles. Jonathan Murphy and Catherine Qunell are the two senior members of Brownwood’s roster.
Through the early portion of the spring, Brown and Morelock will be the Lady Lions to watch in singles action, while Thomas and Chris Anderson are expected to be the top two Lion singles players.
In doubles action, girls expected to team up include Claire Faetche and Andrea Leonard, along with Kori Bennett and Hannah Sharp. For the boys, teams to look out for include Gabe Cardenas and Ryan Barkley, along with Matt Roddam and Cooper Morelock.
Brownwood’s two seniors, Murphy and Qunell, will team up in mixed doubles play as will Ryan Hembree and Kathryn Priddy.
Cunha stated what place Brownwood finishes in its tournaments — which include trips to Granbury, Wolfforth Frenship (Feb. 2-3), Mason (Feb. 9-10), Odessa Permian (Feb. 16-17), Copperas Cove (Feb. 23-24) and Abilene Cooper (March 2-3), as well as hosting the Brownwood Invitational (March 23-24) — is not as important as the overall development of the players.
“I’m not really looking for a team place in our tournaments, I’m looking more for the overall quality of our play to look better and for us to keep on building and getting better,” Cunha said. “There’s a lot of work to be done and we have one of the best schedules we’ve had for the spring season. I’m trying to get as many matches as we can so we can get more experience.”