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Nighthawks get key win over Lancers

Citizen Staff Writer



Ironwood Ridge boy’s tennis team has quickly become one of the elite programs in Arizona.

In 2007, the Nighthawks lost in the Class 4A Division I state championship to Catalina Foothills and followed that with the 5A-II state title in 2008.

Ironwood Ridge continued its unbeaten 2009 season with a 7-2 win over defending 5A-I state champion Salpointe on Tuesday at the Tucson Racquet & Fitness Club.

“We were coming in undefeated and had high expectations,” said Dillon Kennedy, who defeated Salpointe’s Matt Dunn 6-3, 6-3. “Salpointe has always been a good team. They gave us a run for it . . . and we got the job done, so it was a good day.”

Ironwood Ridge returned seven of its top eight players from last year’s title squad.

“We obviously have high expectations and want to return to the state championship,” Nighthawks coach Ryan Bais said. “These type of matches really help us. This is what we are aiming for; they’ve won five straight state titles and that’s what we’re trying to get to. Our bread and butter is two through six and we’re very deep.”

Salpointe’s top doubles team of Dunn and Mitch Daniels stayed close with Ironwood Ridge’s defending 5A-II doubles championship duo of Kennedy and Timothy Holten before Kennedy and Holten pulled away for an 8-6 win.

“We’re improving and we played better,” Salpointe coach John Condes said. “That’s all you look for is to improve and play your best tennis towards the end of the year.”

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