In late April of 2022, Meera Sengottiyan and Sara Crawford geared up for the first ever appearance of a girls doubles team in the state tennis tournament from Flower Mound High School.
The pair reached the tournament following an improbable run that saw Sengottiyan and Crawford knock off doubles teams from state powerhouses Southlake Carroll and Allen in the regional tournament.
The Flower Mound girls lost to Divya Tulluri and Emma Eads of Bridgeland High School in the state quarterfinals, and this season, both they and their coach, Dr. Wade Zimmerman, said there is unfinished business.
Zimmerman said his girls doubles team had a “phenomenal” spring season last year and really started to play well together, particularly towards the end of the year.
“They had to overcome a lot of adversity at the regional tennis tournament in order to qualify for the state tournament,” Zimmerman said. “They had to battle back from a set down against a very good Southlake team to clinch the third place position and then in the same afternoon they had to turn around and come from behind to beat the number-two seeded Allen team in three sets to win the playback and take second place, qualifying them for the state tournament.”
After falling to Bridgeland, Zimmerman said that his message to them was all positive.
“After the match, I told them to keep their heads up, as they have an opportunity to return in 2023,” Zimmerman said. “I felt that Sara and Meera’s confidence grew tremendously after seeing that they can compete with the best teams in the state.”
Zimmerman said he believes what makes Sengottiyan and Crawford such a formidable duo is that the two players are a study in contrasts.
“Sara is a very calm and reserved person and is always very dependable,” Zimmerman said. “She is also much taller than Meera and uses her size at the net and serve and variety as her biggest weapons on the court. Meera is not one of our tallest and athletic girls, but she makes up for it with her fierce competitiveness and drive to succeed.
“Meera is also very confident and is one of our team leaders. Both girls have grown into great friends on and off the court over the past few years and their differences have become one of their greatest strengths.”
For Crawford, 16, last year was groundbreaking for her and Sengottiyan.
“We were the first girls to go to state in our school,” Crawford said. “So that is a pretty big accomplishment.”
Crawford said that both she and Sengottiyan are looking forward to getting back on the court next spring.
“I think we have a pretty good chance of going to state again,” Crawford said. “Some of the seniors from other schools have left, and we have both gotten better.”
The Flower Mound junior said Sengottiyan’s aggressiveness impresses her the most and that “she always goes for it and never gives up,” which motivates her to do the same.
“I think the fact that we know each other so well makes us a good team,” Crawford said. “We understand how we hit the ball and when to go for it.”
Sengottiyan, 17, said she was pleased with how she and Crawford competed last season, but said she feels like the two of them left something on the table.
“It went pretty well,” Sengottiyan said. “I was really happy with our performance at the regional tournament, but I feel as though we could have gone further in the state tournament. I really enjoyed the energy and mindset we brought to matches.”
The Flower Mound senior echoed Zimmerman’s sentiments about Crawford, saying her ability to stay calm, her reflex volleys, and her height make her a great partner.
“Not only are we friends on court, but we are friends off court too,” Sengottiyan said. “The fact that we both genuinely like each other makes it easy for us to play together.”