The Nguyens are returning to State for the second year in a row. Liberal High School’s tennis program is proud to announce that the doubles team of Duc Nguyen and Vince Nguyen have qualified for State competition in McPherson on May 13th. Four years of quality play and an impressive body of work posting a 22-3 record earned this team the number two seed at our Regional Tennis Tournament in Salina on May 6th. Liberal could have easily sent five players to State, but heart-breaking tie breakers went the other way.
Singles—Josh Hamilton lost a match much closer than the score indicates to conference rival and now State qualifier, Taylor Ermoian, of Hays. The final score was 6-4 and 6-4. Senior Josh Hamilton completes a successful tennis career at Liberal with a game that should land him a spot at the collegiate level.
Singles—Joseph Cotto (Sophomore and future star for Liberal) played varsity singles for the first time this year and saw first-hand the level of play required to compete at the Regional and State tournaments. He lost to Lukas Windfuhr from Newton 6-0 and 6-0.
Doubles—Vince Nguyen and Duc Nguyen, earning the number-two seed at this tournament, received a Bye the first round and defeated the conference-rival team, Moyers/Jacob from Great Bend, 6-1, 6-2 to qualify for State. In a heart-breaking tie-breaker match, they lost to Salina South’s Garcia/Lantz 6-4, 5-7, 7-6 (4) in the semi-finals. Deflated and knowing they had already qualified for State, they lost to Salina Central’s Bengtson/ Garlow 6-3, 6-3 to take home 4th Place honors.
Doubles—Tony Rodriguez and Ozzy Villareal almost pulled off the biggest upset of the tournament taking a team who found themselves in the finals to the very last point. In an exciting match that captured everyone’s attention, Liberal’s team battled Salina South’s Garcia/Lantz to near victory. After losing the first set 4-6, Liberal bounced back to win the second set 8-6. Then in an exciting Super tie-breaker (first team to win 10 points), Liberal was up four points with the taste of victory on their lips. Unfortunately, Salina was able to turn the momentum and won this tie-breaker 10-8 to eventually play the team from McPherson in the finals.
The top tennis programs in the State have middle school tennis to develop players and courts at their high school to promote this life-long sport through P.E. classes. Liberal should be proud of our team with the odds stacked against us.
LHS head coach Bret Irby