Raymundo Frasquillo Photo/Gila Herald: Morenci junior Viviana Mendez-Draper debuted in the program’s fifth non-senior No. 1 slot in as many seasons. It is her second season in the position from No. 6 as a freshman. She won her singles match against Safford, but the Bulldogs left Morenci with a 6-3 win March 23.
By Raymundo Frasquillo
MORENCI – The Brenda Street-coached Morenci tennis girls won three pairings, two singles, and doubles, from the visiting Safford Bulldogs, but dropped the dual 3-6 on March 23. Last season, Safford swept the Wildcats, winning all nine pairings in the opener.
Through March 23, Division III – Section I members Benson and Pima are also 1-0, with wins of 7-2 over Willcox (March 16) and 9-0 over Saint David (March 20), respectively; Willcox is 1-1, 9-0 over Saint David (March 23); and both Duncan and Thatcher awaiting season openers.
In section pairings, Safford hosts Willcox Thursday, March 25; Pima is at Willcox and Thatcher at Safford Friday, March 26; Duncan is at Benson, Morenci at Willcox, and Pima at Thatcher Tuesday, March 30.
Non-section pairings include Tombstone at Pima on March 25, Saint David at Duncan on March 26; and Safford at Benson and Gilbert American Leadership at Thatcher Monday, March 29.
Benson lists senior Paige Vaughn, senior Taylor Lutz, senior Myranda Sutton, junior Graciela Ardidero, senior Dahlia Bustamante, and senior Martha Rubalcava as its top six; Pima has senior Allison Lunt, junior Maria Liegenfeld, senior Beckie Peterson, and freshmen Olivia Paull, Bentlee Hoopes, and Ambrosia Johnson as its top six; Safford has junior Maddison Peterson, senior Kestin Finch, junior Emily Goodwin, junior Larissa Owens, sophomore Kali Gluyas, and junior Samantha Barnes in its top six; Willcox has junior Jodi Denny, senior Sydney Hansen, junior Kamrielle Wyatt, sophomore Kennedy Peterson, junior Khezia Perolino, and freshman Valerie Durazo in its top six; and Morenci has junior Viviana Mendez-Draper, senior Taylor Begay, senior Tyra McCabe, freshman Anita Gonzalez, sophomore Cambri McCauley, and freshman Katelyn Clark as its top six.
Safford – 6, Morenci – 3
Morenci’s single wins were 8-4 by top-seed junior Viviana Mendez-Draper over junior Maddison Peterson and 9-7 by No. 4 freshman Anita Gonzalez over junior Marissa Owens. The doubles win was 8-6 by the No. 2 team of seniors Taylor Begay and Tyra McCabe over juniors Emily Goodwin and Owens.
Safford’s singles wins were 8-6 by No. 2 senior Kestin Finch over Begay, 8-3 by No. 3 Goodwin over McCabe, 8-0 by No. 5 sophomore Kali Gluyas over sophomore Cambri McCauley, and 8-2 by No. 6 junior Savannah Barnes over freshman Katelynn Clark.
In doubles, No. 1 Peterson – Finch and No. 3 Gluyas – Barnes defeated Draper – Gonzalez and McCauley – Clark, respectively, by identical 8-1 scores.