Whether it was a fluke, a mistake, or a realistic view of the 5A Division I girls tennis world, there is no joy that Tucson Salpointe is the ninth seed in this year’s state tennis team championships, which begin today.
Salpointe, the defending state champion, enters this year’s tournament with only one loss, which came at the hands of Phoenix Xavier, a second seed this year.
“They are severely misplaced,” said Xavier coach Laurie Martin. “They are easily a topthree seed, and it’s a shame, because it means someone is going to have to face them earlier than they probably should have.”
The first team to meet the southern powerhouse will be eighth-seeded Horizon, and should Salpointe defeat Horizon in today’s first-round matchup, the Lancers would then face top-seeded Mesa Mountain View in a rematch of last year’s championship clash, but in the second round.
Mountain View coach Katie Roberson agreed with Martin’s assessment of Salpointe’s placement.
“It definitely is a bump in our road to the final,” Roberson said. “The second round will be our main focus and challenge.”
Roberson still feels that her team has a legitimate shot at the title, especially with Shawni Porter, Emma LeCavalier and Annika Huish leading the charge.
For Martin’s Xavier team, which is looking for its first tennis title since 2003, the second seed is a beneficial position. Her team won’t have to face Salpointe or Mountain View until the championship.
“We are very evenly matched at the top (with Michelle Yu, Sarah Serrano and Ashlee Wingersky), and I think we have a little more depth after that to help us get through the earlier rounds.”
Xavier plays Mesquite at home today.
All first-and second-round team matches are at the higher-seeded teams’ venues.
Tempe Corona del Sol is seeded third and will start its quest at home against Glendale Mountain Ridge today. Mesa Red Mountain, the fourth seed, meets up with Gilbert.
The Tucson Salpointe boys, the defending 5A-I champs, are back again as the top seed, while second seed Phoenix Mountain Pointe believes it is poised and ready to give Salpointe a run.
“Everyone’s ready,” said Mountain Pointe coach Dan Ray. “We’re really strong this year, and it was a real bummer for us to lose to North Canyon (the 5A-II top seed) earlier this year. If Salpointe is missing one or two of their players (to major tournaments), we could have a chance to beat them.”
Mountain Pointe will have two of the top individuals when that competition begins later this week.
Erik Sheldon and Andy Nguyen are expected to give Salpointe’s top two a battle.
“Either of them has the potential to win the individual title,” Ray said.
Mountain Pointe opens up at home today against Chandler Basha, while Phoenix Brophy, last year’s runner-up, is the No. 3 seed and meets Gilbert.
Corona del Sol, the fourth seed, begins its run against Scottsdale Horizon.
In 5A-II, Scottsdale Desert Mountain, helped by Emily Harris, is the top seed for the girls, while in 5A-II boys, North Canyon is the top seed and Desert Mountain is the second seed.
After the first and second rounds, the team competition will take a break for a few days then the opening rounds of the individual tournaments begin on Friday and Saturday at the Phoenix Tennis Center.
The semifinals and finals of the team and individual championships will be next week, all at Paseo Racquet Center in Glendale.