West mixed doubles remain unbeaten, cruise to district finals
bY CLAY WHITTINGTON - CWHITTINGTON@VICAD.COM
April 4, 2012 at 11:03 p.m.
Updated April 3, 2012 at 11:04 p.m.
Victoria Keller and Jakub Najman have not lost a match this spring.
In fact, they have yet to even lose a set, and they do not intend to start now.
With the end of their high school careers approaching, the duo wants to extend their only season together as long as possible, and they have their sights set on reaching the Class 4A state tournament in Austin at the end of the month.
"I'm putting a lot of pressure on myself because I want to win," Najman said. "I love winning.
"We haven't lost yet, so I don't want to break (the streak). We want to go to regionals and, hopefully, we can win and go to state. That would be great."
The seniors easily advanced to the District 30-4A mixed doubles finals Wednesday, defeating tandems from Calhoun and Gregory-Portland.
Including dual matches, the pair owns a record of 20-0 entering Friday's title match against Floresville at 10 a.m.
Considering the two never played a single point together prior to the West Invitational in January, the run is extremely impressive.
Keller advanced to regionals as a junior, losing in the second round, while Najman - a foreign exchange student from the Czech Republic - never played mixed doubles before coming to America.
"We've gotten a lot better (since January)," Keller said. "We know where each other is going to be on the court, and we move together as a team better than when we started."
The cohesion showed Wednesday.
After opening the district tournament with a unblemished 6-0, 6-0 win against Calhoun, they cruised past the third seed team from Gregory-Portland 6-2, 6-3.
"They played just extremely well," West head coach Whitney said of the win against the Wildcats. "They went out there and handled business, and it wasn't as close as we thought it was going to be, which is a good thing."
According to Keller, having complementary styles has been key to their success.
"He's really good at volleying and putting the ball away, and I'm pretty decent at serving," she said. "That's our strong suit.
"We are both pretty good at ground strokes, keeping the ball in play and setting each other up to get winners and overheads."
In other Warriors' action, West's Nicole Cobler will play teammate Rachel Hennessey for third place in girl's singles at 10 a.m. with the winner having the possibility of earning a playback for second place.
"Both of them just really, really blew my mind," Russell said. "Rachel is playing very consistently and that has gotten her through her matches.
"Nicole is placing the ball very well and also playing consistent. They ought to have a good match."