Palestine’s Ben Shiller and Stevie Ybarra both made it to the second round of the regional tournament in singles this week before being knocked out.
Both athletes’ successful journeys in the regionals were capped off by what coach Scott Tyler said was one of the best matches of the tournament.
“For Stevie, she is just a freshman so this was very valuable learning experience for her,” Tyler said. “She proved she belonged at regionals by taking Johnson – who won the tournament – to three sets in the quarterfinals. That match could have gone either way and it was unfortunate that either of those girls had to lose. In my opinion, that match was the best one of the tournament in girls singles.”
Shiller also made it all the way to the quarterfinals match, where he was faced with an athlete from Robinson. Tyler said he was impressed with the way Shiller was able to come out and compete against the tough competition.
“Going to regionals this year was great experience for both Ben and Stevie,” Tyler said. “Ben went last year with his sister in mixed doubles but it is a different experience going as a single’s player. It was great for him to get to play the caliber of player that the Robinson kid is. Playing him in the quarterfinals will only make Ben a better player in the future.”
The future is indeed bright for these two athletes as they were able to put a long rain delay out of their minds and stay focused on the job at hand.
“I’m so proud of both of them,” Tyler said. “We had to overcome harsh weather conditions including a four-hour rain delay and then when they did get to play, they dealt with heavy winds. But none of that seemed to faze either of them. We came out of this week, both players and coaches, having a better idea of what we need to do in the future to take the next step.”