Xavier Prep and Brophy Prep have some of the best 5A tennis teams, year in and year out. But this year, the tables tipped to the south – big time.
Salpointe Catholic High School in Tucson swept the girls and boys 5A-I state team tennis titles, beating the two Phoenix Catholic schools in the finals.
The Salpointe girls, who were the No. 2 seed in the tournament, blew No. 1 Xavier off the court with a 5-0 sweep at the Paseo Racquet Center in Glendale.
The girls’ win was not as surprising as the way the Lancers accomplished it. Salpointe was undefeated on the season and had won the title for the past two years. But this championship win, the fifth in the last six years, was particularly impressive because no other team in recent years has been able to dominate the Gators in this fashion.
Only one match went to three sets. Courtney Amos defeated Maggie Cohen (6-2, 6-3), Lauren Amos beat Kendra Mahoney (3-6, 6-4, 6-1), Claire Baxter won over Madison Majerlie (6-4, 6-3), Maeve McGeorge beat Taylor Young (6-3, 6-4), and Nicole Whinery defeated Kelsey Rose (7-6, 6-1).
The girls finished 15-0 on the year.
On the boys’ side, it wasn’t so easy, as the Lancers attempted to dethrone the Broncos, winners of the last two team championships. But it was nothing new; one of those two teams has won the title every year since 1996.
The teams were tied at 3-3 following the completion of singles play, and tied again after the first two doubles matches. The singles competition featured one of the key match-ups of the afternoon, as Brophy’s No. 1 singles player, Kyle Chalmers, defeated Salpointe’s No. 1, Matt Dunn, in a match that lasted more than three hours.
That left it to a couple of sophomores, Brandon Gerber and Tyler Linscott, to secure the title for the Lancers with a 10-7 doubles victory and a 5-4 team win.
No. 2 Brophy lost to No. 1 Salpointe earlier in the year, 5-4, and gave the Lancers all they could handle again in the championship. Salpointe came into the finals with just one loss all season and wrapped up a 19-1 year.
Salpointe’s singles winners included Andrew Dunn, who beat Alex Curtis (6-2, 6-1); Tyler Linscott, who defeated Garrett Nebecker (1-6, 6-3, 6-1); and Martin Dufwenberg, who won over Connor McQueen (7-5, 6-4).
And now the Salpointe teams will begin reloading for next year. For the past seven years, the girls’ and boys’ teams have combined for a dozen state championships, evenly split between the squads.