Immediately after the No. 6 Ironwood Ridge girls tennis team upset No. 3 Lake Havasu 5-0 on Wednesday, the Nighthawks’ focus shifted to the opponent awaiting them in the Division II state semifinals — Catalina Foothills.
The Falcons handed I-Ridge (15-1) its lone loss this season — an 8-1 pasting — and settling the score has been the only real goal since, Nighthawks coach Susan Williams said. Last year, Foothills beat I-Ridge 5-4 in the state championship match.
Before Friday’s match at noon against Foothills at Paseo Racquet Center in Glendale could happen, the Nighthawks needed to take care of undefeated Lake Havasu. Williams said the team approached the match against the Knights seriously but was also confident in its chances of winning.
The confidence proved to be merited, as I-Ridge won eight of the 10 sets by at least four games, including Kelsey Brown’s 6-0, 6-0 victory against the Knights’ top player. Allison Knox, Brown’s doubles partner during the individual state championship Saturday, also rolled to an easy 6-0, 6-1 victory.
The Nighthawks have dropped only 10 individual matches throughout the season, though eight of them came in the loss to Foothills. Williams said the mid-April loss was a “rough day all around” that spiraled out of control.
“A lot of things have changed since then,” she said.
No. 2 Catalina Foothills 5, No. 7 Prescott 1: At Catalina Foothills, the Falcons (16-0) breezed through their quarterfinal contest with all but one match decided in straight sets.
Junior Kirtana Bhat, who won the individual state championship last week, cruised to 6-0, 6-0 victory. The Falcons’ only loss came after Angelica Anderson had to retire because of a migraine in the middle of her match.
Coach Kristie Stevens said she was glad to see her players return their focus to pursuing a team title after the individual state tournament.
No. 1 Scottsdale Notre Dame 5, No. 8 Salpointe Catholic 0: At Notre Dame, the Lancers fell to the Saints for the second time in the past five games. Before the first meeting with Notre Dame on April 16, Salpointe had been on an eight-game winning streak. The entire starting lineup for the Lancers will return next season.
No. 7 Desert Christian 5, No. 2 Safford 1: At Safford, the Eagles pulled off an upset to advance to the semifinals.
Desert Christian (13-2) travels to the Paseo Racquet Center on Friday to face No. 3 Buckeye Union at 4 p.m. The state champion doubles duo of Jenna Cray and Harika Echuri each won their singles matches in straight sets.
Desert Christian is the last remaining school from Southern Arizona after No. 5 Benson fell 5-0 to No. 4 Page.