High School Tennis: Pusch Ridge strong in first round

5 singles wins propel Lions in quest for return to title match
2013-04-24T00:00:00Z 2013-04-24T15:04:00Z High School Tennis: Pusch Ridge strong in first roundArizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
April 24, 2013 12:00 am  • 

The Pusch Ridge Christian boys tennis team made quick work of Desert Christian in the opening round of the Division III state tournament at El Conquistador.

One hour and 10 minutes after the first serve, the Lions avoided doubles matches and defeated the Knights 5-0 as they try to return to the state finals.

Freshman Davis Towne grabbed the first win on over Desert Christian's Blake Trout 6-1, 6-0. Junior Evan Gazic and Joel Johnson clinched the victory for the Lions with 6-2, 6-1 and 6-2, 6-2 wins, respectively.

Pusch Ridge coach David Towne was pleased with his team's performance, but said he noticed things to improve on in practice before Tuesday's quarterfinal match against St. Gregory.

"We were fairly dominant in singles today," Towne said. "But we have plenty to work on. I saw a lot of unforced errors and balls in the net."

The Lions lost to Thatcher in last year's state championship and won the title in 2011. Gazic, the No. 6 seed in the singles state tournament, pointed to doubles matches as the key to the rest of the season.

"It'll come down to doubles," Gazic said. "We need to stay confident, I know we're capable of beating any team."

Chuck Constantino

Division I

• No. 3 Salpointe Catholic 5, No. 14 Laveen Chavez 0: At the Tucson Racquet Club, Yash Parikh, Tyler Linscott, Andrew Dunn, Brandon Gerber and Jack Amos all won 6-0, 6-0, as the Lancers won their ninth straight match.

"I always like when the guys come out and play hard, regardless of who we're playing," Salpointe coach John Condes said.

• No. 5 Tempe Corona del Sol 5, No. 12 Rincon/University 1: At Corona del Sol, Brendan Rumel was the lone winner for the Rangers who were without their No. 1, 3 and 5 players for various reasons.

"I didn't expect us to beat them, I was just hoping we'd have a good showing," Rincon coach Roland Kotwica said. "I was a pretty good year for us."

Division II

• No. 2 Catalina Foothills 5, No. 14 Gilbert Williams Field 0: At Foothills, freshman Mike Lee got the Falcons off to a strong start with a dominant 6-0, 6-0 win and Foothills cruised to the second round.

"We had a pretty good challenge on the later six matches. They were pretty good competition," Foothills coach David King said.

• No. 3 Ironwood Ridge 5, No. 14 Sabino 0: At I-Ridge, the Nighthawks stayed on track to defend their state title as Cody Petford and Adam Knox both won 6-0, 6-0.

"You never want to take anybody lightly," I-Ridge coach Ryan Bais said. "We did what we had to do to get the first round out of the way."

• No. 12 Phoenix Greenway 5, No. 5 Nogales 4: At Nogales, Alan Soto-Hopkins and Alan Romero couldn't lock up final doubles match and Greenway pulled ahead for the upset win.

"We had three or four match points and were up 10-9 but we just didn't convert," Nogales coach Rudy Molera said. "I'm very happy with my kids and got all but one coming back."

• No. 4 Prescott Valley Bradshaw Mountain 6, No. 13 Canyon del Oro 3: At Bradshaw Mountain, the Dorados forced four singles matches to three sets but couldn't hang on for the win as a team

Kevin Klell and Andy Hales won in singles while Josh Henkel and Hales combined for a win in doubles.

"There's nothing to be ashamed of, I liked the way my boys played," CDO coach Dan Prasil said. "Just a tough one to lose especially in the state tournament."

Division III

• No. 6 St. Gregory 5, No. 11 Sedona Red Rock 0: At Fort Lowell Park, David Strong led the way with a 6-0, 6-0 win to give the Hawks a second-round meeting with Pusch Ridge, which beat St. Gregory twice this year.

"They were a strong team and our kids responded and played well against a competitive team," St. Gregory coach Mark Swenson said. "We've got to respond strongly against Pusch Ridge next week."

• No. 9 Morenci at No. 8 Douglas: At Douglas, Morenci won the match by forfeit. Douglas athletic director Stephanie Phillips declined comment and an Arizona Interscholastic Association representative did not know further details.

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