United tennis has overcome repeated obstacles all season

United tennis has overcome repeated obstacles all season

United’s No.1 mixed doubles team haven’t done anything wrong yet this year – literally when it comes to winning.

Across three tournaments this season, Pamela Barragan and Marco Rodriguez are yet to lose a game with a 13-0 record this year and come away with titles at Corpus Christi, San Antonio and the Border Olympics.

Mixed doubles tennis is perhaps one of the hardest sports to find the right chemistry. Well, in three weeks, this pair of sophomores seem to have found it.

“We practiced a lot before the start of the season,” Barragan said. “As soon as we found out we were going to play mixed, we spent a lot of time training doubles as we were both originally singles players and had only played singles before.

“We just worked a lot on the doubles and on the communication. He’s a better net player and I’m a better baseline player, so it balances out. »

“Exactly what she said, I agree,” Rodriguez said. “We started practicing little by little. Right now we are doing better. We played against mixed teams who have everything for doubles, so we were a little scared, but I think we are quite confident now.

The pair were already confident as tennis players who had been playing the sport for the better part of a decade, but most of that confidence came from playing alone.

Singles play is a much different beast on the tennis court. When a player is alone, he must get the ball, no matter where he is, whether at the net or at the baseline. In doubles, it takes discipline to trust that your teammate will take care of a shot when you might want to go get it yourself.

Barragan and Rodriguez have had success playing on their own before — they’ve actually played doubles and singles during the fall season — but they wanted to try something different this semester, and so far their individual strengths are helping. their teammate.

“For the spring season, we chose to play mixed and put all of our energy and time into that,” Barragan said.

Last spring, the pair had very successful seasons as singles players, but they both finished second and couldn’t advance beyond regionals.

Head coach Mark Collins saw the success they had in those situations, but saw the potential for them to be even better together.

“Last year they both finished second in singles and I knew they were going to have to fight a lot, so I said, ‘Why don’t you play mixed doubles because it’s more open? and you’ll have a good chance of doing it?'” He said. “I thought they would work really well together and they tried and it works.”

United saw a lot of talent at the start of the season against teams like Katy Tompkins in Corpus Christi which has one of the best teams in the state and San Antonio Reagan in San Antonio which is still one of the best teams in the region. .

Even in the Border Olympics finals, they had fierce competition. It just so happens to come from their own side as they took first place over United Longhorns mixed doubles team Kristina Valadez and Nicolas Sauceda who also had a strong start to the year.

All this pair have done so far is win, which has convinced them they can have more success this season. There are only three tournaments in the year, but that doesn’t mean they haven’t already set their sights high.

“I think the goal is to win the district,” Barragan said. “I think we want to win the district in mixed doubles.”

“So let’s say we win the district,” Rodriguez added, “I really think we can go far in regionals. I’m saying semifinals, finals, maybe that second day of regionals, I’m at pretty sure we can make it through what I’ve seen us play.

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