Pick of the preps: Catalina Foothills, Ironwood Ridge battle in possible girls tennis state preview

2014-04-14T00:00:00Z 2014-04-14T09:17:15Z Pick of the preps: Catalina Foothills, Ironwood Ridge battle in possible girls tennis state previewBy Daniel Gaona Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

While the tennis team tournaments are still more than two weeks away, a pair of undefeated girls squads might be getting a practice round of next month’s state final.

Second-ranked Catalina Foothills will host No. 3 Ironwood Ridge on Thursday at 3:30 p.m. in a re-match of last year’s Division II state championship that the Falcons won 5-4.

The Nighthawks (11-0) edged Foothills 5-4 in the state finals two years ago so there’s a good chance this match could be a preview of a meeting deep into the state playoffs that begin on April 30.

Junior Kirtana Bhat and the Falcons (10-0) have won 14 straight matches since losing to I-Ridge in the regular-season finale last spring.

Here’s a look at three other things to watch around Southern Arizona this week:

TUESDAY

Softball: If the Division II state playoffs were to start today, both Marana and Salpointe Catholic would be in. However, both teams need to finish the regular season strong to make sure they maintain their rankings.

No. 15 Marana (19-4) will put a four-game winning streak on the line when it travels to play the 22nd-ranked Lancers on Tuesday at 4 p.m.

Salpointe (9-7) had won five straight games before losing 1-0 at third-ranked Ironwood Ridge on Friday. The Lancers also play at Sierra Vista Buena today and have six games left before the state tournament begins May 3.

WEDNESDAY

Baseball: Sierra Vista Buena, ranked 34th in Division II, has won four of its last five games and will hope to continue that trend this week.

The Colts (11-9), who are coming off an 8-7 win over No. 27 Tucson on Thursday, will host No. 32 Salpointe Catholic today. But Buena, led by senior catcher Matt Duce, can really give itself a boost in the rankings when it plays at No. 10 Sunnyside at 6 p.m. on Wednesday.

The two met in the first round of the Division I state tournament last year and Sunnyside won 7-6 despite Duce hitting a home run and driving in three runs. He’s batting .455 this season and leads the Colts with 23 RBIs.

THURSDAY

Boys volleyball: Cienega is ranked third in Division I and is undefeated in regular-season matches but will have a solid test when it plays No. 15 Rincon/University at 6 p.m. Thursday.

The Rangers (14-2) have won four straight matches and dropped just two sets in that span. However, Cienega has won five straight and also lost just two sets in that stretch with the help of senior Louis Murphy, who leads the state with 1.6 blocks per set.

FRIDAY

Track and field: As of Sunday afternoon there were 27 teams, mostly from Southern Arizona, signed up for Friday’s Mario Castro Invitational.

The longtime meet has normally been hosted at Sunnyside High School but this year will be at the UA’s Drachman Stadium, the same location of the Willie Williams Classic.

One of the stars of that meet was Marana senior Sydney Madrid who won three gold medals. This week’s meet begins at 9 a.m. and will run into the evening.

Contact high school sports coordinator Daniel Gaona at 807-7761 or dgaona@azstarnet.com. On Twitter @DanielGaona13

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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