Goodyear Estrella Foothills junior Max Schell claims 2nd state tennis title

Goodyear Estrella Foothills junior Max Schell claims 2nd state tennis title

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Goodyear Estrella Foothills junior Max Schell claims 2nd state tennis title

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Three-peat is on the radar screen.

That’s the goal ahead for Goodyear Estrella Foothills junior Max Schell.

After dispatching Delaney Harbin of Phoenix Christian 6-3, 7-5 to capture his second consecutive Division III boys tennis state title Saturday, Schell said he will strengthen his defensive game and look to the future.

To put away Harbin, whom he beat for the state title a year ago, Schell had to overcome an inconsistent first set and unforced errors throughout the match.

“I had a problem finding my rhythm,” he said. “I knew I had to put pressure on him. My goal was to keep the ball in play and play smart.”

After a grueling 2 1/2-hour semifinal victory over Matt Fisher of Fountain Hills on Saturday morning, Harbin earned a trip to the finals. He then battled No. 1 seed Schell and temperatures in the mid 90s.

Harbin pushed ahead at 2-1 and 4-3 in the final set. Schell responded and at 5-5 went into overdrive. Closing out the match, Schell demonstrated his signature blistering overhand and executed better placement of serves.

Serving for the match at 6-5, he roared out to a 40-15 lead in the 12 game and then his smash to the baseline, at 40-30, was returned into the net.

“I saw a different player in Delaney than the player I beat last year,” Schell said.

“He was much more consistent, and I was not prepared for his improvement.”

In Division III doubles competition, the Thatcher team of Nathan McMaster and Reed Goodman, a pair of juniors, defeated Jacob Meyer and Troy Parsons of Valley Lutheran, 7-6, 3-6, 6-4.

After dropping the second set which evened the match, McMaster and Goodman heightened their concentration level and took control.

“We wanted this and went out and got it,” McMaster said.

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