The 2018 regional championships were help at Collin County CC just like every year for the past 20 years. The host team Collin County CC came in as the favorite ranked #11 nationally and then came the lady lions of NCTC ranked #12 nationally followed by New Mexico Military Institute ranked #14 respectfully.
First up were Collin County versus New Mexico Military on Friday morning. Collin got off to a good start taking two of the three doubles to lead 2-1 going into the singles competition. Collin County wins line five and six singles to lead 4-1 overall. NMMI wins at line 1, then again at line 3 and 4 to even the match up at 4 all. NMMI eventually would win line 2 singles and the match by the score of 5-4.
The lady lions and Coach Waddell would now battle NMMI in the night cap. The doubles was supposed to come down to a 2-1 lead for someone. The lady lions would take line three very quickly as Yashleen Kheterpal and Nathalie Wetherington won 6-0;6-1 to get off to a 1-0 lead for NCTC. Next finished were the line two duo of Yana Goranova and Carolina Fabbri as they won in straight sets 6-2; 6-4. This was a great win for these two as well as giving the lady lions more momentum and a 2-0 team lead. Line one would go to a third set tie-breaker and the team of Brenda Aguilar and Melissa Ariza came away with a hard fought 6-2;3-6 (12-10) victory. This 3-0 lead was a huge surprise to both coaches and to both teams.
The lady lions would continue their excellent play into the singles play winning lines 5 and 6 in short order. Yashleen Kheterpal won 6-1;6-0 at line 5 singles and Nathalie Wetherington won at line 6 singles 6-0;6-0. This gives the lady lions the match up 5-0 with still four more matches to be completed.
Line 2 singles would be finished next with Brenda Aguilar winning 6-0;6-0 in what supposed to be a very close match. Line 1 went to the young lady from NMMI by the score of 6-3;6-1. This was Yana Goranova for the NCTC lions. Next off was line 4 singles Carolina Fabbri as she won in three sets 6-2; 4-6; 6-4. Finally, line three singles Melissa Ariza would also win in three sets by the score of 2-6;6-3;6-0. The lady lions would come away with a 8-1 team win and great momentum for the next day's final match against Collin County CC.
Saturday didn't come but the rains did and then another day off (Sunday) would push the final match back to Monday afternoon. All the momentum and excitement was gone for the lady lions as coach Waddell tried to motivate his young team and prepare them mentally for the finals. It just never took effect until the match got close and down to the final matches.
The doubles would go right down to the final points as Collin County took line 2 by the score of 6-2;6-4. I thought my two would play harder and better but really never got started "said Coach Waddell" of Yana Goranova and Carolina Fabbri. Line 3 doubles came away with a victory for the lady lions by the score of 6-2;6-3. Yashleen and Nathalie has been playing their best tennis of the season here of late and it was good to see them play well and win said coach. This evens the match up at 1 all with the next match winner taking a 2-1 lead in the double and would be Collin County. The final score would be 6-7; 6-1 (10-2). Brenda and Melissa had been caring our team all semester and just ran out of gas at the wrong time.
Singles also didn't start off very well for the lady lions and coach Waddell as Collin County would win line 1 by the score 6-0;6-3 as first semester Yana Goranova was overcome by the pressure of playing line one singles and regional finals. Collin County now leads 3-1 overall and leading at every other singles matches playing. This is when the toughness of the lady lions would come out to show what they were made of. Line 4 would finish next with Carolina Fabbri winning 2-6; 6-2; 6-1. Slow start but she sure made up for that in the second and third sets "said coach Waddell". Now the team score 3-2 Collin County. Finished next would be Yashleen at line 5 singles and winning 6-2;2-6; 6-2. This match was up and down the whole way until Yashleen could put her shots together to get the edge and the victory. Now the match is all tied up at 3 all.
Next off was Brenda Aguilar who had won over her opponent twice already this season but ran into her opponent's best effort of the year with Collin County coming away with a 6-1; 4-6; 7-6 (5) two and a half hour match. Collin now leading 4-3 overall and only needing one more line win to win the overall match.
Melissa Ariza played her first set at line three singles in just under two hours with her winning in a tie-breaker 7-6(4). The second set wasn't much different with Melissa winning 7-5 to tie the overall match up at 4 all. It all came down to Nathalie Wetherington playing at line 6. Nathalie won the first set 6-2 and we all thought this was going to be short and quick in our favor only to have the Collin Player win the second set 6-4. Even though now the excitement and tension was very strong Nathalie played like a champion (that she is )and won the final set 6-2 to clinch the Regional Championships for her team and coach Waddell. 5-4 final team score and the 2018 Regional Championships.
This was the third Regional Championships in four years for the lady lions and Coach Brian Waddell.