Scottsdale Notre Dame Prep and Phoenix Arcadia meet today for the 4A Division II girls team tennis title in a rematch of last year’s state championship battle between the rivals.
Their match, at Paseo Racquet Club in Glendale, will start at 10 a.m., the same time Cave Creek Cactus Shadows takes on Cottonwood Mingus for the 4A-II boys title.
Notre Dame and Arcadia, eager for a title replay, had little trouble with their semifinal matchups Monday — Notre Dame beating Buckeye 5-0, while Arcadia took out Phoenix Sunnyslope 5-0.
For Arcadia, today’s match will not look like last year’s 5-1 win over Notre Dame.
“We are a totally different team this year,” said Arcadia coach Josh Olshan, who lost five seniors from last year’s team to graduation. “Last year I thought we were the clear-cut favorites, but this year, (Notre Dame) is the clear-cut favorites.
“We’ve got a chance to repeat, however. We’re really deep, especially our third through sixth players.”
Notre Dame coach Shelley Dinges expects a battle, but has believed all season this was her team’s best chance to take a state title from its rival.
“I know they are a great team, but we’ve been working hard this year and the girls have put in a lot of time getting prepared for this,” Dinges said. “Everybody is going to have to play their game tomorrow. They are not going to hand it to us.”
The match will also reunite cousins Courtney Byron and Retta Byron. Courtney, the top player and two-time defending 4A-II individual champion, wants a shot at the trophy that her cousin, an Arcadia senior, got to hold last year.
“All of our girls need to be ready and prepared for this,” Courtney Byron said.
On the boys side, top-seeded Cactus Shadows heads into the title match after claiming a 5-0 win over Arcadia, while Mingus defeated Notre Dame 5-2 to advance.
Brian Dales and Kevin Siebs helped pace the Falcons in Monday’s semis, with Dales beating his singles opponent, Arcadia’s J.C. Brown, 6-0, 6-0. Dales and Siebs, as a doubles team, defeated Arcadia’s Daniel Thorn and Michael Harris, 8-0.
Two other East Valley top seeds did not fare as well in 4A-I action.
Fourth-seed Tucson Catalina Foothills stunned top seed Chaparral 5-2 in the boys bracket, while the fourth-seeded Falcon girls did similar damage to the Firebirds, with an easy 5-0 win.
Tucson Catalina Foothills will meet Tucson Ironwood Ridge in today’s boys final, while the Catalina Foothills girls face Tucson Canyon del Oro. Both matches are at 2 p.m.