Citizen Staff Writer
Freshman Alex Prassas rallied in the second set of her match against Anthem Boulder Creek High School’s Alyssa Haney on Wednesday, helping No. 4 Ironwood Ridge to a 5-0 win in the Class 5A Division II girls tennis quarterfinals.
Boulder Creek, the 12th seed, was ranked No. 1 in 2008 and eliminated Ironwood Ridge in the semifinals last year, but that was before Prassas was enrolled at the school. “Nobody told me we faced them last year,” said Prassas, who battled back from a 5-4 deficit and won the match on an ace. “It was a long, hard match. . . . I wasn’t expecting (to get the ace) that’s for sure. I just thought about how much I wanted this and how much it meant to the team. I just gave it my all.”
Prassas defeated Haney in straight sets 6-1, 7-5.
For Ironwood Ridge’s No. 1 singles player, Shannon Contreras, her 6-3, 6-2 win Wednesday over Vanessa Green avenged a pair of postseason losses in 2008 – one in the team tournament and one in the individual tournament.
“She played great, but I was able to overcome my mental game and pull through,” said Contreras, who received the top seed for this year’s 5A-II individual state tournament, which begins Friday in Glendale. “I knew I played her before and I try to forget about the past and focus on the present. I noticed her net game was a little weak and I tried to move her up towards the net.”
When Contreras moved Green close to the net, she forced her into several errors that led to Contreras taking a 5-2 lead in the second set. She eventually took the match when Green’s return landed in the net.
Wednesday’s team win means Ironwood Ridge will play No. 1 Phoenix Pinnacle on Monday at Glendale’s Paseo Racquet Center.
“I’m very proud of the way they played,” Ironwood Ridge coach Bill Little said. “I’m very proud of the fact they reach down deeper every time they play. It’s nice to be in the semis, but we want to be in the finals.”
The Ironwood Ridge boys team, the defending 5A-II champion, also won Wednesday, beating No. 9 Rincon/University 5-0.
The Nighthawks advanced after Conor Spiegel won his No. 5 singles match 6-0, 6-2.
No. 1 Ironwood Ridge plays No. 13 Phoenix Pinnacle in the semifinals on Monday.
5A Division I
The No. 4 Salpointe girls team beat No. 5 Gilbert Mesquite 5-0 to advance to the semifinals. Maggie McGeorge won her No. 1 singles match 6-1, 6-0. The Lancers will play No. 1 Phoenix Xavier on Monday at the Paseo Racquet Club at 1:30 p.m.
The No. 5 Salpointe boys won on the road over No. 4 Scottsdale Desert Mountain 5-2. Tyler Comstock and Ezra Auerbach won in doubles 10-1 to seal it. Salpointe plays No. 1 Tempe Corona del Sol on Monday.