Thatcher girls slip into Division III quarterfinals

Raymundo Frasquillo Photo/Gila Herald: Morenci Class of 2022 member Viviana Mendez-Draper, flanked by assistant coach Tanner Hudman and head coach Brenda Street, was recognized on the final home match of the season. There were a total of 13 seniors on the Section I teams, with six of them taking part in the post-season. Safford has two of five, Willcox 2-2, Thatcher 1-2, and Morenci 1-1. The first round of the team tourney started on Tuesday, April 26, and the individual tourney on Friday, April 29.

Section I girls number 15 for state individual meet Friday

By Raymundo Frasquillo

THATCHER – The state tourney team title is within reach for eight of the 16 entrants, following the first-round results. Seven of eight higher seeds advanced, with No. 11 Gilbert Christian edging No. 6 Flagstaff Basis (10-0 seeding, 10.8722 rating) 5-4.

Advancing to the quarterfinals were No. 1 Tucson Pusch Ridge Christian, 5-0 over No. 16 Willcox (2.9305); No. 8 Chandler Prep, 5-1 over No. 9 Tombstone (14-1, 8.0163); No. 5 Phoenix Northwest Christian, 5-4 over No. 12 Safford (12-4, 5.8850); and No. 4 Scottsdale Prep, 5-0 over No. 13 Phoenix Basis (8-3, 4.5547) in the upper bracket.

The lower bracket had 5-0 shutouts by No. 3 Chandler Arizona College Prep over No. 14 Phoenix Veritas Prep (6-5, 3.4879) and by No. 2 Phoenix Country Day School over No. 15 Tucson Sabino (7-6, 2.9309) along with a 5-4 win, No. 7 Thatcher slipped past No. 10 Tucson Tanque Verde (7-5, 7.2389).

Quarterfinal pairings are No. 8 Chandler Prep (11-3, 10.0250) at No. 1 Pusch Ridge (14-0, 20.2186), No. 5 Northwest Christian (11-1, 11.6630) at No. 4 Scottsdale Prep (10-2, 12.4096), No. 11 Gilbert Christian (8-4, 6.2326) at No. 3 Arizona College Prep (13-1, 17.3934), and No. 7 Thatcher (11-3, 10.8410) at No. 2 Phoenix Country Day (11-0, 19.085) on May 3.

The semifinals (Friday, May 6) and final (Saturday, May 7) are at the Glendale Paseo Racquet Center, 6268 W. Thunderbird Rd.

Thatcher – 5, Tanque Verde – 4

The pairing came down to the final doubles team, as both won four matches, three singles, and a doubles. The No. 3 duo of freshman Kayla Turley and senior Charity Nielson prevailed 8-3 over sophomore Karson Taylor and senior Lucy Sholes. Thatcher took the first three singles matches in two sets apiece, No. 1 junior Maren Hatch (6-2, 6-1 over sophomore Toni DeFalco), No. 2 junior Lindsey McMaster (6-4, 6-3 over sophomore Kailey Reichardt), and No. 3 senior Amanda Sampson (6-1, 6-4 over junior Anna Gahr). The Eagles’ No. 1 duo of Amanda Sampson – Hatch posted an 8-6 win over DeFalco – Reichardt.

Tanque Verde took the No. 4 senior Hannah Carlson (6-3, 6-0 over junior Camille Bryce), No. 5 (6-2, 7-5 over senior Charity Neilson), and No. 6 sophomore Maggie Thomas (6-1, 6-0 over Turley) singles matches along with the No. 2 doubles of junior Janina Lee – Carlson (8-3 over McMaster – Bryce).

Raymundo Frasquillo Photo/Gila Herald: Viviana Mendez-Draper watches the ball sail across the net during a recent singles pairing. The Morenci senior completed the 10-match regular season with a 10-0 record from the No. 1 slot.

Northwest Christian – 5, Safford – 4

The teams split the six singles matches and Northwest Christian prevailed in two doubles pairings.

Safford No. 2 junior Kali Gluyas (3-6, 6-2, 10-6 over senior Abi Schlesinger). No. 3 junior Emma David (6-3 twice over senior Lizzy McMahon), and No. 6 sophomore Rachel Peterson (6-2 twice over sophomore Abby Kennedy) as well as the No. 3 Rachel Peterson – senior Emily Goodman duo (8-5 over Kennedy – junior Abby Barrett) posted the wins.

Northwest Christian won with No. 1 sophomore Gracie Madeya (6-0, 6-1 over senior Maddison Peterson), No. 4 senior Amber Cameron (6-4, 6-1 over Goodman), and No. 5 sophomore Ava Gibson (6-4, 6-1 over senior Savannah Barnes) along with doubles No. 1 Schlesinger – Madeya (8-1 over Maddison Peterson – Gluyas) and No. 2 McMahon – Gibson (8-4 over David – Barnes).

Pusch Ridge Christian – 5, Willcox – 0

Pusch Ridge Christian won with No. 1 freshman Estelle Fetsis (6-0 twice over senior Jodi Denny), No. 2 junior Ali Grammond (6-0, 6-1 over senior Kamrielle Wyatt), No. 3 senior Ashley Drake (6-1 twice over sophomore Valerie Durazo), No. 4 senior Lindsey Anthony (6-3, 6-4 over junior Kennedy Peterson), and No. 6 junior Ella Pierpont (6-0 twice over sophomore Marissa Paz).

Section I Final Standings, Rankings

The Leah Meehl-coached Thatcher Eagles (11-3 seeding, 10.8410 rating) were ranked No. 7 of 47 Division III teams, the Thomas Biggs-coached Safford Bulldogs No. 12 (12-4, 5.8850), the John Chapman / Mike Kauffman-coached Willcox Cowgirls No. 16 (10-5, 2.9205), the Brenda Street-coached Morenci Wildcats No. 20 (6-4, 1.5182), the Shannon Kempton-coached Duncan Wildkats No.31 (4-6, minus 4.1441), the Brandon Udall-coached Pima Roughriders No. 37 (1-5, minus 9.6430), and the Julie Christensen-coached Benson Bobcats No. 46 (0-14, minus 18.9132).

The final Division III – Section I member standings were Thatcher first (6-0 section), Safford second (4-2), Willcox third (4-2), Morenci fourth (4-2), Duncan fifth (2-4), Pima sixth (1-5), and Benson seventh (0-6).

Raymundo Frasquillo Photo/Gila Herald: Cambri McCauley applies a backhand as she tries to place the return. The Morenci junior No. 3 seed finished with a 4-4 doubles record while teamed with Anita Gonzalez on the No. 2 duo.

Thatcher was 59-24 (.711) in singles and 34-8 (.810) in doubles, including six forfeit singles wins and four forfeit doubles wins.

The Eagles had 9-0 wins over Duncan (March 3), Tucson’s The Gregory School (March 7), Miami (March 22), Pima (March 24), and Benson (March 29); 7-2 over Anthem Prep (March 1), over Willcox (March 10), and Morenci (April 5); and 6-3 over Safford twice (March 9, April 12). The losses were 2-7 to Tucson Pusch Ridge Christian (March 2), to Chandler Arizona College Prep (March 25), and to Nogales (April 11).

Safford was 68-28 (.708) in singles and 33-15 (.688) in doubles, including seven forfeit singles wins plus four forfeit doubles wins.

The Bulldogs had wins of 9-0 over Pima (March 10), Tucson Palo Verde Magnet (March 25), Duncan (March 30), Benson (March 31), and Pima (April 8); 8-1 over Miami (March 3) and over Queen Creek San Tan Foothills (March 9), 6-3 over Morenci (March 22) and Saint David (April 11); and 5-4 over Willcox (Feb. 24), Miami (April 7), and Willcox (April 14),

Raymundo Frasquillo Photo/Gila Herald: Anita Gonzalez tosses the ball up for a serve during a recent match. The Morenci sophomore No. 5 seed roamed the court with Cambri McCauley as the No. 2 doubles team.

Willcox was 59-30 (.663) in singles and 29-16 (.644) in doubles, including14 forfeit singles wins plus eight forfeit doubles wins.

The Cowgirls had 9-0 wins over Pima twice (March 1, April 12) and Benson twice (March 22, April 7); 7-2 wins over Saint David (March 3), Duncan (April 11), and Morenci (April 19); 6-3 over Duncan (March 8), Morenci (March 31), and Saint David (April 8). The losses were 4-5 to Safford twice (Feb. 24, April 14), 2-7 (March 10), and 0-8 (March 28) to Thatcher, and 3-6 to Tombstone (March 24).

Morenci was 41-19 (.683) in singles and 18-12 (.600) in doubles, including four forfeit singles wins plus three forfeit doubles win

The Wildcats had 9-0 wins over Pima twice (March 29, April 1), Benson (April 12), and Duncan (April 14); 8-1 over Duncan (Feb. 28), and 5-4 over Safford (April 7). The losses were 3-6 to Safford (March 22) and to Willcox (March 31), and 2-7 to Thatcher (April 5) and to Willcox (April 19).

Duncan was 20-26 (.435) in singles and 8-19 (.296) in doubles, including three forfeit singles wins and a doubles forfeit.

The Wildkats downed Benson 7-0 (March 24), Pima 6-3 (March 31), Patagonia 4-0 (April 15), and Pima 5-4 (April 19). The losses were 0-9 to Thatcher (March 3), Safford (March 30), and Morenci (April 14); 1-8 to Morenci (Feb. 24), 3-6 to Willcox (March 8), and 2-7 to Willcox (April 11).

Pima was 21-71 (.228) in singles and 10-37 (.213) in doubles, including10 forfeit singles wins, one singles forfeit, six forfeit doubles wins, and a doubles forfeit.

The Roughriders had 9-0 wins over Benson twice (March 3, April 14), and 6-3 over Saint David (March 28). The losses were 0-9 twice to Willcox (March 1, April 12), Safford (March 10, April 8), and Morenci (March 29, April 1), and once to Thatcher (March 24) and Tombstone (April 7); 1-8 to Tombstone (April 15), 2-7 to Miami (March 25), 3-6 to Miami (March 4) and Duncan (March 31), and 4-5 to Duncan (April 19).

Raymundo Frasquillo Photo/Gila Herald: Kaylee Kempton looks the ball into her racquet as she returns it across the net. The Duncan junior was the No. 1 singles seed and on the No. 1 doubles team.

Benson was 0-80 in singles and 0-39 in doubles, including 40 singles forfeits and 25 doubles forfeits.

The three Bobcats succumbed 0-9 a dozen times, to Tucson Desert Christian (March 1), Pima twice (March 3, April 14), Willcox twice (March 22, April 7), Tucson Saint Augustine Catholic (March 28), Thatcher (March 29), Safford (March 31), Tombstone (April 4), Tucson Pusch Ridge Christian (April 6), Morenci (April 12), and to Rio Rico (April 13); 0-7 to Duncan (March 24), and 1-3 to Saint David (Feb. 24).

Individual Tourney

A total of 15 student-athletes from Section I continue to practice for the individual state tourney first round on Friday, April 29. The matches are scheduled to be held on at the Glendale Paseo Racquet Center.

In singles, match No. 5 has Morenci senior Viviana Mendez-Draper (10-0 seeding, 19-1 in sets) versus No. 5 Saint David sophomore Safina Blachly (4-2, 9-4) at 1 p.m.

The doubles No. 9 pairing has Morenci junior Cambri McCauley and sophomore Anita Gonzalez (4-4, 4-4) versus Tombstone sophomores Jamora Haynes and Makinzee Mainhardt (11-1, 11-1) at 2:30 p.m.

Raymundo Frasquillo Photo/Gila Herald: Emily Kempton stretches to return the ball during a recent match. The Duncan freshman teamed up with her sister for the No. 1 duo, finishing the regular season with an 8-2 mark.

Other Division III – Section I entrants, Safford senior Maddison Peterson (10-4, 21-10) faces Tucson Sabino senior Haeleigh Chipman (7-5, 14-10) in singles match No. 2 and Thatcher senior Charity Neilson (4-2, 9-4) meets Chandler Lincoln Prep junior Angelica Gigli (4-3, 7-7) in match No. 4. Starting times are both 1 p.m.

In doubles, the Duncan Kempton sister duo (6-6, 6-3), junior Kaylee and freshman Emily, meets Phoenix Veritas Prep seniors Isabella Robinson and Parker Cashdan in match No. 5, Safford junior Emma David and senior Savannah Barnes (10-4, 10-4) meet Gilbert Classical junior Tara Patel and senior Kashi Parikh in match No. 6, Thatcher juniors Lindsey McMaster and Camille Bryce (11-3, 11-3) meet No. 4 Pusch Ridge Christian freshman Estelle Fetsis and junior Madi Van Holsbeke (14-0, 14-0) in match No. 7, Willcox seniors Jodi Denny and Kamrielle Wyatt (6-9, 6-9) meet Phoenix Basis sophomores Natania Arum and Sinchana Keshav (6-1, 6-1) in match No. 13, and No. 7 Thatcher juniors Maren Hatch and Amanda Sampson (12-2, 12-2) meet Flagstaff Basis juniors Jenna Crone and Abby Buckley in match No. 14.

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