Warriors win mixed doubles at West Invitational
By bY CLAY WHITTINGTON - CWHITTINGTON@VICAD.COM
Jan. 20, 2012 at 11:03 p.m.
Updated Jan. 21, 2012 at 7:22 p.m.
Victoria Keller and Jakub Najman only have one opportunity to achieve their goal, and they do not intend to squander it.
The Victoria West seniors have played just one tournament together, debuting as a mixed doubles team at the West Invitational on Friday.
But the tandem immediately made an impact, losing a total of just six games while cruising past Yoakum, Calhoun and Rockport duos en route to the mixed doubles championship.
The Warrior teammates have their sights set on other championships, though.
"We want to win district and, hopefully, get to regionals and go on to state," Keller said.
They certainly got off to a good start.
Despite their complete inexperience together in competitive situations on the court, West head coach Whitney Russell was not at all surprised by the showing.
"For the first tournament, they really played well together," the coach said. "They kept each other playing, they kept each other's mind in the game, and they just blew everyone away."
On paper, the pairing appeared to be set for success.
Keller is the top girl on the Warriors' roster, having advanced to regionals in singles last season, while Najman is a foreign exchange student from the Czech Republic, who quickly established himself as the top boy on the team.
"We work very well together," Najman said.
Before coming to America, Najman had experience playing doubles, but he had never participated in mixed competition.
"(Playing mixed doubles) was kind of different, but I like it, and Victoria is pretty good," Najman said. "It is a good experience for both of us."
After receiving a first-round bye, the Warrior tandem opened the West Invitational by shutting out Yoakum 6-0, 6-0 before defeating Calhoun 6-0, 6-2. In the finals, West beat Rockport 6-2, 6-2.
"We knew what each other wanted to do with the ball, and we just did it," Keller said of the championship match. "We executed all of our points pretty well, and just finished it."
And, if all things go according to plan for Keller and Najman, that could be only the beginning.
Dehnert v Gittinger - 1st place Dehnert (Beeville) 2-6, 6-0, (10-7)
2nd place Gittinger (Rockport)
Boys Singles Consolation
Nguyen (Calhoun) vs Tauzon (Calhoun) - Tuazon 8-1.
Harrison/Pechin (Rockports) vs. McBurney/Krupa (Rockport) - 1st Harrison/Pechin 6-2, 6-1.
Boys Doubles Consolation
Monterroso?Boothe(Yoakum) vs Wren/Traylor (Rockport) - 1st McLain 6-0, 6-1
Alli McLain (Rockport) vs Kaitlyn Whiteley (Rockport) - 1st McLain 6-0, 6-1
Girls Singles Consolation
Tania Kawana (Calhoun) v Clare Hickner (East) - Hickner 8-5
A. Miller/ S. Silva (Rockport) v K. Pape/ S. Stafford (Rockport) - 1st Pape/Stafford 6-4, 3-6 (10-6)
Girls Doubles Consolation
Correa/Pesek (Yoakum) vs Hale/Brown (Goliad) - Correa/Pesek 8-2
Victoria Keller/Jakub Najman vs. Torres/Reese (Yoakum) - Keller/Najman 6-0, 6-0
Keller/Najman vs. Baugh/Crenshaw (Calhoun)- Keller/Najman 6-0, 6-2
Finals- Keller/Najman vs. Bueltel/Langford (Rockport)- 1st Place Keller/Najman 6-2, 6-2
Burns/Reyna (Beeville) vs. Philip/Wood (Goliad) - Burns/Reyna 8-4