With an 8-4 doubles win from Kelley Carson and Alex Prassas, the Ironwood Ridge girls tennis team won its second-straight 5A-II Southern Region championship Wednesday, beating Rincon/University 5-3.
“I think every time we play Rincon, it’s exciting and we enjoy their competition,” Nighthawks coach Bill Little said after his team’s win at the Tucson Racquet Club. “I think it’s a very healthy thing we have going on.”
The highlight of the match came at the No. 1 singles spot where Rincon freshman Samantha Lund picked up her first win in three tries against Ironwood Ridge’s Shannon Contreras. The two battled to a third-set tiebreaker before a long Contreras return gave Lund the win, 7-5, 1-6, 12-10.
“It was really challenging, and I just had to put everything I had into it,” Lund said.
Little said the match “was a nail-biter, and it could have gone either way.”
Despite her loss in singles action, Contreras was happy with Wednesday’s results and hopes the team will do well in the state tournament.
“It’s exciting (the back-to-back regional titles) and I hope to continue it,” Contreras said.
Rincon’s loss does not eliminate it from the state tournament. After the match, Rincon held the No. 8 ranking in the state’s Power Ranking system, which determines the top 16 teams for the state tournament.
This is the first Rincon girls tennis team to reach state in 11 years.
Like their female classmates, the Ironwood Ridge boys tennis team repeated as 5A-II Southern Region champs with a win over Rincon on Wednesday.
For coach Ryan Bais’ boys team, it was the fifth straight region title, including three from when the Nighthawks competed in the 4A Sonoran Region.
The defending 5A-II boys state champion cruised to an easy 5-0 win over Rincon.
“It’s really good for our program,” said Ironwood Ridge senior Andrew Vo, who defeated James Steinke 6-1, 6-2.
“I think we came in prepared and really exceeded our expectations.”
5A-I Southern Region
Defending region champion Salpointe crushed upset-minded Sierra Vista Buena 5-0 in the 5A-I Southern Region girls tennis championship.
Salpointe clinched the victory when its first five singles players won their matches by a combined score of 60-1.
“I think we should do really well in state and hopefully we make a run,” Salpointe’s No. 3 singles player, Courtney Amos, said after her 6-0, 6-0 win over Molly Murphy.
Salpointe’s boys team also used a 5-0 win Wednesday for a region title, defeating Casa Grande.
“Everyone played well today,” said Salpointe freshman Matt Dunn, who won his match 6-0, 6-0 over Justin Crockett. “We’re really excited. At the beginning of the year, we weren’t really sure we were going to make it.”
Nighthawk girls, boys retain 5A-II region titles