The Allen high school tennis team is coming off, what may be, the most memorable match in school history.
“We were all in shock,” Allen senior Ethan McKinney said. “I can’t even describe it. It’s the best feeling ever,” said Allen sophomore Macie Wu. “We’ll always remember this for the rest of our life,” added Allen junior Jesse Chou.
The match was against their rivals, Plano West. To understand the significance, first, a little history. Since 1999, the same year the school opened, Plano West has been on a remarkable run, winning every district match for the past 18 years. That’s 144 straight wins.
“You have the responsibility to carry it on, represent past years,” Plano West senior Dallas Bennett said.
During that run, there have been epic matches and close calls, but nothing like last week against Allen. The two rivals had been battling all night and were tied with just one match remaining: number six singles. Allen jumped out to a big early lead until Plano West's Nathan Govindarajan stormed back to tie it up.
“And then, everywhere the lights went out, so we had to move to Lifetime,” Govindarajan said.
“We went to the outside courts at Lifetime, and those lights turned off too,” his opponent Allen sophomore Aaron Pandian said.
“I’ve been a part of some strange things, but that one is definitely up there,” said Plano West head coach Morgen Walker.
Eventually, the match was moved indoors at Lifetime Fitness. It was nearly midnight when finally, after six hours Allen scored the final point and partied like it was 1999.
Both teams say that match doesn’t diminish Plano West’s remarkable run. In fact, it proves how good they still are.
“They’re still Plano West,” Allen head coach Justin Quest said. “They’ve still got great players and a ton of tradition on their side.”
“We’ll always have the same respect for them,” said Bommakanti. “They’re always going to be top. They’re always going to fight.”
“It’s over,” Walker added. “Let’s start a new one and leave our legacy for this year.”
Besides, the two teams will likely meet again and Allen knows, Plano West will be ready for the rematch.
“Yeah, they will. And we will be too. It’s going to be a hell of a fight," Chou said.
And one heck of a rivalry for years to come.