The third time in the state semifinals didn't hold any charm for the Centennial High School girls tennis team.
Horizon eliminated Centennial from the Class 5A2 state tournament with a 5-1 win Monday at the Paseo Racquet Center in Glendale.
"Horizon was the better team," said Barbara Saunders, Centennial coach. "Our girls were in every match, but they couldn't get the close points when they needed them.
"I couldn't be more proud of the way the girls played today. This team improved three-fold from where we began the season."
With the loss to Horizon, the Coyotes extended a streak in which they have never advanced to the state finals in three trips to the semifinals.
Horizon jumped on the Coyotes quickly, winning four singles matches in straight sets.
Freshman Candice Walker kept Centennial alive with a 7-5, 7-5 win over Cassie Corcoran in the No. 3 singles match.
However, Horizon advanced to the state finals when Taylor Kessler outlasted Amanda Scott 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 in the No. 6 singles match. The Huskies will play Ironwood Ridge today in the finals.
Centennial entered the 16-team tournament as the No. 6 seed and reached the semifinals with a first-round win against Pinnacle and an upset of No. 3 seed Sunrise Mountain in the quarterfinals.
Second-seeded Horizon quickly squelched any further upset plans, flexing its muscles in the opening match when Shelly Johnson downed Centennial sophomore Alana Wiesing 6-1, 6-1.
Johnson, the top seed in the Class 5A2 individual tournament, made quick work of her opponent with a powerful serve coupled with an array of shots from the baseline.
Wiesing never broke serve and struggled with a leg injury after she fell in the opening game of the first set.
"I wasn't able to hit the way I wanted to (after the injury)," Wiesing said with an ice bag wrapped around her right leg. "Don't take anything away from her, though, because she played well."
Despite the loss in the team competition, two Centennial players remain alive in the Class 5A2 individual tournament, which resumes on Friday at Paseo Racquet Center.
Wiesing and senior Lexi Mudrick each advanced to the singles quarterfinals during weekend action.
Wiesing routed Annie Williams of Ironwood 6-1, 6-0 in her opening-round match and then downed Maelee Miller of Sunrise Mountain 6-2, 6-1 in the second round. The Centennial sophomore reached the quarterfinals with a 6-0, 6-0 victory over Corrie McDonald of Deer Valley. Wiesing, seeded fourth in the tournament, will face Vanessa Green of Boulder Creek in the quarterfinals.
Mudrick defeated Abby Ignaszewski of North 6-4, 6-0 in the first round and downed Lucy Nunez of Sunnyside 6-1, 6-2 in second-round play. The unseeded Mudrick then toppled sixth-seeded Andrea Castro of Cibola 7-5, 2-6, 7-5 in the round of 16. Mudrick will meet third-seeded Taylor Geiger of Sunrise Mountain in the quarterfinals.
Horizon 5, Centennial 1
1. Shelly Johnson, Horizon, defeated Alana Wiesing, Centennial 6-1, 6-1.
2. Chelli Redpath, Horizon, defeated Lexi Mudrock, Centennial 6-0, 6-1.
3. Candice Walker, Centennial, defeated Cassie Corcoran, Horizon, 7-5, 7-5.
4. Jessica Trink, Horizon, defeated Bryana Edgel, Centennial 6-2, 6-1.
5. Brianna Forster, Horizon, defeated Erica Meza, Centennial 6-2, 6-2.
6. Taylor Kessler, Horizon, defeated Amanda Scott, Centennial 6-4, 3-6, 6-4.