Top-seeded Catalina Foothills took care of business all season long, and Tuesday was no different.
The unbeaten Falcons boys tennis team cruised past No. 16 Goodyear Desert Edge 5-0 in the first round of the Division II state tournament to win its 15th straight match and pull within one match of getting back to the state semifinals, where Foothills’ season ended a year ago.
Senior Quinn Gardner won 6-0, 6-0, as did juniors Nate Rasmussen and Dalton Reisig. Shortly after junior Bogdan Racolta won the fourth match for the Falcons, senior Josh Mantell sealed it with a 6-0, 6-1 victory.
“Everybody played really hard with a lot of intensity and focus,” second-year coach David King said. “We just came out and took care of business.”
Foothills will host No. 8 Scottsdale Notre Dame in the quarterfinals on Tuesday in what King expects to be “a really competitive and challenging match.” Since starting out 2-2, the Saints have won 10 of their last 11 matches.
The win Tuesday improved Foothills to 33-2 since King became coach. To make it even more impressive, the Falcons continued to dominate without having brothers Jackson and Mike Lee, who spent the spring as the squad’s top two players but are no longer with the team.
“The depth is something I can always count on at this school.” King said. “I can put these guys wherever I need to, and they’re going to win for me.”
No. 2 Salpointe Catholic 5, No. 15 Buckeye Verrado 0: At Tucson Racquet Club, the host Lancers won their 10th straight match with the help of sophomore Yash Parikh and junior Andy Barana, who both won 6-0, 6-0. Salpointe, which reached the Division I state finals last season, will host No. 7 Phoenix Thunderbird in the quarterfinals on Tuesday. Before then, on Saturday, Parikh will try to win a singles title as the No. 1 seed in the singles tournament.
No. 4 Ironwood Ridge 5, No. 13 Yuma Cibola 1: At I-Ridge, the defending state champion Nighthawks almost had to go into doubles play, but junior Brody Harn edged out a close 6-2, 4-6, 6-2 win to seal the match. Ryan Knox, the No. 3 seed in the singles tournament, also won, 6-2, 6-0, to help the Nighthawks improve to 13-2. In Tuesday’s quarterfinals, I-Ridge will host No. 5 Nogales, which it beat 8-1 on March 26.
No. 5 Nogales 5, No. 12 Prescott Valley Bradshaw Mountain 0: At Nogales, the Apaches made sure not to fall victim of another first-round upset by quickly disposing of Bradshaw Mountain for its ninth win in the last 10 matches. Senior Francisco Ton and freshman Diego Garcia both won 6-0, 6-0, and junior Jose Robles locked up the match with a 6-2, 6-4 victory. Nogales (11-3) will travel to I-Ridge next.
No. 2 Pusch Ridge Christian 5, No. 15 Fountain Hills 0: At Hilton El Conquistador, the undefeated Lions cruised to an easy win over the same team they beat in the Division III state finals last spring. Pusch Ridge freshman Jarod Bristol, the No. 4 seed in the singles tournament, led the way with a 6-0, 6-1 win, and senior Tim Pooley secured the match with a 6-0, 6-2 victory.
No. 5 Scottsdale Christian 5, No. 12 St. Gregory 1: At La Camarilla in Scotts-dale, senior David Strong got the lone win for the visiting Hawks, but their season ended with consecutive losses. Strong is the No. 2 seed in the singles state tournament, which resumes Friday at Paseo Racquet Center.
No. 6 Benson 5, No. 11 Morenci 0: At Benson, the Bobcats won for the 13th time in their last 14 matches and will travel to No. 3 Goodyear Estrella Foothills on Tuesday. Benson’s Andrew Guilliams and Steven Barrera will be playing as the No. 3 seed in the doubles state tournament this weekend.
No. 8 Miami 5, No. 9 Desert Christian 0: At Miami, the Eagles snapped a three-game winning streak and lost in the first round for the second year in a row. Desert Christian still has Seth Buell and Derrick Wood as the No. 6 seeds in the doubles tournament.