This year’s high-school D-I tennis season belonged to two teams, from start to finish – right down to the final state championship.
Brophy Prep boys’ team and the Desert Mountain High School girls enjoyed seasons that were a mirror image of each other, both programs dominating the competition and rolling to a Division I state title with relative ease.
Both schools navigated the regular season undefeated. Both schools made quick work of their playoff opponents, with Desert Mountain shutting out its opponents in the first three games and Brophy losing just one set, to Chaparral High in the semifinals.
And both schools won their second consecutive state team titles yesterday.
Desert Mountain had a shot at making it a title sweep, but its boy’s team lost to Brophy, 5-2, in the championship match, played at Paseo Racquet Center in Glendale.
On the girls’ side, Desert Mountain again mirrored Brophy’s performance, defeating Chaparral in the finals by an identical 5-2 score.
For awhile, it looked like Desert Mountain was becoming the new king of the hill in boys’ tennis, taking the state title away from three-time champ Brophy in 2015, and then winning it again in 2016. But Brophy, under its new coach, Eric Chalmers, took the D-I title back last year, and now makes it two in a row.
Last year’s championship win over Hamilton High, was even more dominating as the Broncos coasted to a 5-1 victory.
The girls’ competition, too, is coming off a lock on state titles by Xavier Prep, which won four in a row before Mountain View High (Mesa) broke the Gators’ reign two years ago. And now Desert Mountain begins what it hopes will be a lengthy stay atop the D-I mountain.
And again, the similarities to Brophy. The Mountain Pointe girls’ program is also under the direction of a new head coach, Mark Schumaker, who moved up from the JV program to take over when Sheri North departed.
While it was good to see some parity developing in the girls’ game, following the end of Xavier’s reign, there’s a reasonably good chance that Desert Mountain may be on the verge of beginning its own run of titles.
Schumaker will lose just two seniors this year and four of his nine players are either freshmen or sophomores. Many of his top players will return to help in a quest for a three-peat next year.