The Nogales boys tennis team hasn't lost a match in more than a month, thanks in large part to the strong play of brothers, Francisco and Alexis Ton.
"It's been really exciting," Nogales coach Rudy Molera said. "They're really coming into their own. It's great to see."
With Thursday's 8-1 victory at Pueblo, the one-loss Apaches extended their winning streak to nine straight, moving one match closer to hosting a first-round match in the Division II team state tournament.
Nogales was ranked eighth heading into Thursday's match and has only two matches left before the individual and team state tournaments open up next week.
"We're working really hard to be able to host so we can have our friends and family there to support us," Francisco said.
Francisco, a junior, and Alexis, a freshman, man Nogales' No. 1 and No. 2 spots in singles and combine for the No. 1 doubles squad.
Relatively new to the game, the brothers have made up for lost time by playing religiously.
"They both caught the fever at the same time," Molera said. "I don't think a day goes by where they aren't on the court for at least two hours."
Working his way from worst to first over the summer before his sophomore year, Francisco will represent the Apaches in the state singles tournament for the second consecutive year, after losing in the fourth round to last year's eventual champion.
"He's the kind of kid that grinds and grinds and works really hard every point," Molera said. "He's the type of kid you want on the team. When the pressure is on, he elevates his game."
Light years ahead of where Francisco was as a freshman, according to Molera, Alexis challenged for the No. 2 spot before the season and has been fighting off sophomore, and possible doubles partner, Alan Soto-Hopkins.
Alexis and Soto-Hopkins, the team's No. 3 player, will most likely be paired together for the doubles state tournament.
"I think we have a real shot at getting to the quarters or semifinals," Francisco said. "All the times I play a really good player, I'm not nervous."