When Argyle tennis coach Kurt Spasic told one of his prized pupils she had to make a drastic change before her senior year, it could have been a recipe for disaster.
Spasic told Maddie Schorlemmer, who had been to the UIL state tennis tournament in her previous three seasons, that she would be playing doubles.
Schorlemmer immediately asked who her partner would be, and when Spasic answered, Schorlemmer liked the idea a little better.
“When he told me I was playing with Lacy [Blake], I couldn’t have been happier,” Schorlemmer said of learning she’d be teamed up with her fellow senior. “She’s definitely helped me. Playing with her has helped me realize how much I really love the game.”
Blake is also a state tournament veteran, having been three times as a doubles player with two third-place finishes as a freshman and a junior.
So it only seemed natural to pair the two together. And the results have been, well, perfect.
The team has yet to lose a match this year, and has dropped only one set, which came in the Class 3A Region II final against powerhouse Lovejoy, when Schorlemmer and Blake won the match 4-6, 6-4, 6-4.
“We’re both really aggressive players,” Blake said. “We work together really well because of that. It’s really hard if you’re not on the same wavelength. We’re both very aggressive. I think that helps, having the same mindset. We’re on the same wavelength. We are really comfortable with each other.”
Blake and Schorlemmer will begin play in the state tournament today when they face Vernon’s Maggie Kennon and Emily Draughon, which along with Argyle, Abilene Wylie and Lovejoy, are likely one of four contenders for the state title.
Wylie and Lovejoy face each other in the first round as well.
“In my opinion, two of the top four teams in the state will be facing off in that first round,” Spasic said. “Us and Vernon, and then Lovejoy and Abilene Wylie. Not to take anything away from those others, but I’ve seen those and they’ll be good first games.
“The draw is blind and that can happen. The reality is there’s only one state champion and you’ll have to beat the best team out there, whether you meet them in the first round or in the final. You better just bring your ‘A’ game.”
Schorlemmer, who will play collegiately at Midwestern State, said she is not looking ahead, but she knows which team she will be pulling for in that Wylie-Lovejoy first-round match.
She said she would love to see a regional final rematch in the state final against Lovejoy’s Anna Dickens and Anna Reyna.
“I’m not trying to look ahead, but it would be fun to play them again in the finals because everyone watching will enjoy it,” Schorlemmer said. “It’ll be close. They’re a really good team. I’m crossing my fingers to get there and that we can meet them again. We had a really good match with them at regionals. It was close.”
As an undefeated team, Blake and Schorlemmer are undoubtedly one of the favorites heading into the tournament, and Blake said capping both of their careers with a state championship would be special.
“I’m very proud of myself [for going four straight years], but my ultimate goal is to win state,” Blake said. “Just to get there four times in a row is great though. I’m happy that I can look back, now and in the future, and be able to say that. There really hasn’t been that big of a tennis program at Argyle, and it’s cool that people that are younger than me are seeing me and [Schorlemmer] going to state four times in a row. That’s incredible.”
As for Spasic, he has one simple request for the pair as they play their final tournament as high school athletes.
“If the best they can do is win state, then great,” he said. “If it’s not, they’ve still done their best and I’m going to be proud of them either way.”
ADAM BOEDEKER can be reached at 940-566-6872. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org .