Xavier Prep girls tennis eyes a repeat

Xavier Prep girls tennis eyes a repeat

News

Xavier Prep girls tennis eyes a repeat

By

Last season was the year Phoenix Xavier Prep girls tennis finally got over the hump.

The name of that hump? Tucson Salpointe Catholic.

Four of the previous five years, Salpointe had eliminated Xavier from the state tournament, three times in the finals and once in the semis. But last season, Xavier exorcised that demon and defeated Salpointe 5-1 in the Division I semifinals, and then went on to beat Scottsdale Chaparral in the championship for its first state title under coach Laurie Martin, who is entering her eighth season.

“It was a long time coming,” Martin said. “It had been a long dry spell, and we’d gotten so close so many times and just couldn’t quite do it, so it was pretty special for our whole program.”

The famine may have turned to feast for Xavier, as the team did not graduate a single player from 2012 and only lost Kendra Mahoney to injury. Seniors Emily Serrano and Madison Majerle will provide leadership, and sophomore Madison Clarke (last year’s singles runner-up) is only getting better.

Salpointe lost its top two players from last season, including singles champion Courtney Amos, and also said goodbye to coach Perri Touché, who retired. With the team moving down to Division II next year, it could be getting out of Division I just in time as Xavier is poised to control the division for the foreseeable future.

As with the boys side, Oro Valley Ironwood Ridge and Tucson Catalina Foothills could turn southern Arizona into a Division II tennis hotbed. Ironwood Ridge defeated Catalina Foothills for the team title last season, and both could find themselves back in the championship in 2013.

Scottsdale Notre Dame Prep, last year’s No.1 seed, will undoubtedly have something to say about that, and teams like Buckeye Verrado, Nogales and Phoenix Arcadia will also start the season with title aspirations.

The Division III field looks to be significantly more even than that of Divisions I and II.

Phoenix Country Day School won the team championship last season as a No.6 seed, defeating top-seeded Miami, but any number of teams including Tucson Pusch Ridge Christian, Douglas and Buckeye have a realistic shot at being there at the end of the tournament.

Latest

More USA TODAY High School Sports