GLENDALE – A dehydrated Anthony Monestero pulled out a victory on Friday to send No. 3 Palo Verde to the Class 4A Division II boys state tennis team finals.
On Saturday at Paseo Racquet Center in Glendale, he was called on again.
With his team tied 4-4 with fourth-ranked Chandler Seton Catholic, Monestero faced Vincent Lenzi with the state championship on the line.
Lenzi, playing with shin splints in both legs and suffering through several muscle cramps, took the first set 6-2. Monestero then took advantage of Lenzi’s injuries, capturing the next two sets 6-3 and 6-2, giving Palo Verde the 5-4 win and the state crown.
“It just feels really good,” Monestero said. “This is my senior year, and I feel like I’m on top of the world right now.”
The championship is the first boys tennis title for Palo Verde.
“It’s really been nice to play against high-caliber players like that,” coach Dan Ireland said. “Coming in every match, we knew it would be close, so it makes it exciting that way.”
Palo Verde’s Carlos Bermudez, the 4A-II boys state singles champion, had a big day. His powerful left-handed serve helped give his team an early 2-1 lead after the doubles matches, and he won his singles match over Dennis Rodgers 6-1, 6-1.
– JONATHAN FRANKEL, The Arizona Republic
Foothills boys win fifth straight
GLENDALE – One program was seeking its fifth straight Class 4A Division I championship, while the other is in the fifth year of building its program.
Tradition won out.
Catalina Foothills finished its blitz through the 4A-I state boys tennis tournament Saturday as it hammered upstart Goodyear Millennium 5-0 at Glendale’s Paseo Racquet Center to capture its fifth straight boys championship.
“We are better than I thought we were,” Foothills Coach Robb Salant said. “We’re just too deep. You can’t see a weak spot in our lineup. Compared to our last five championship teams, I’d say this team ranks somewhere between two and three. I say that because we’re solid 1-6, but we don’t have much beyond that. But those six are pretty darned good.”
Foothills got off to a strong start, winning all three doubles matches. The third doubles victory came when juniors Zach Hoffor and Dan Hyman upset freshmen brothers and recently crowned 4A-I state champions Hunter and Yates Johnson 8-4.
“To show what I know, I didn’t think we’d win that match,” Salant said. “But my two kids were too big and strong for them. Going 3-0 in the doubles was huge. How can you come back from that? You’d have to win five of the six singles matches and that’s never been done.”
Foothills quickly sewed up the match when sophomore Wade Heerboth downed Millennium senior Billy Mlsek 6-0, 6-0 at No. 3 singles, and senior No. 4 Mike Tringali topped Nate Kobylinski 6-2, 6-1.
– TIM TYERS, The Arizona Republic
Foothills girls knock off Chaparral for title
GLENDALE – After nearly three-and-a-half hours of tennis Saturday, Abby Cochran was so delighted to join her celebrating teammates that she left her racket on the court.
All the while her coach, Kristie Stevens, was fighting back tears.
That’s because Cochran won her team’s deciding singles match as second-seeded Catalina Foothills won the Class 4A Division I state team title 5-4 over No. 4 Scottsdale Chaparral, securing the team’s ninth championship at the school this decade.
With the match tied 4-4, the No. 5 singles pairing competed under the watch of all in attendance. Cochran topped Chaparral's Lauren Harrison 6-2, 6-3.
"It feels good to pull it out for my team," she said.
Catalina Foothills won the team portion of the state championship every year since 2000 - until last season when Chaparral ended the streak.
After losing two of three doubles matches, Catalina Foothills needed to dominate singles play.
"That was a lot of pressure on the girls, and they all came through." Stevens said.
Fourth-seeded Chaparral's attempt at a clean sweep of the postseason's singles, doubles and team titles was derailed as its top three players were defeated in crucial matches.
State champs in doubles, Molly Ruby and Elizabeth Hammond couldn't hold onto a 5-4 lead and lost 8-6 to Catalina Foothills' Zaina Sufi and Sam Ruth.
Sufi also beat rival Nikki Parker 6-1, 6-2 one week after the reverse occurred in the state singles final.
"It's great coming back and winning after a loss to her and especially because she's such a great player," Sufi said.
– ANDREW PENTIS, The Arizona Republic
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