TENNIS: Catalina Foothills & Pusch Ridge sweep championships
May 6, 2018 by Andy Morales, AZPreps365
Catalina Foothills boys and girls teams (Andy Morales/AZPreps365.com)
History can be made quickly or it can take time and we had plenty of both Saturday at the Division II and III team tennis championships held at the Paseo Racquet Center.
Catalina Foothills swept the Division II boys and girls team championships and Pusch Ridge did one better by solidifying a complete program sweep of the D-III playoffs. The Catalina Foothills boys beat Salpointe 5-2, the Catalina Foothills girls beat Cactus Shadows 5-0, the Pusch Ridge boys beat Scottsdale Prep 5-4 and the Pusch Ridge girls beat Phoenix Country Day 5-0.
GIRLS: TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS
It took all of an hour and seven minutes for No. 2 Catalina Foothills to get past No. 4 Cactus Shadows and an hour and fifteen minutes for No. 5 Pusch Ridge to take care of No. 2 Phoenix Country Day.
The 14th championship in school history couldn’t come quick enough for Catalina Foothills head coach Kristie Stevens.
“It felt like three long years since we won but I’m glad to have it back,” Stevens said. “Two of those years came down to a tiebreaker and that was heartbreaking. It’s nice to get it back.”
Stevens picked up her first title in 2000 and she coached the Falcons to championship trophies every year through 2014 except for a semifinal finish in 2008 and a runner-up finish in 2012. A runner-up finish in 2015 was followed by another in 2016 and the Falcons claimed a semifinal finish last year. For any other program, the last three years would be dream finishes but Catalina Foothills is not like “any other program.”
Stevens also saw her team sweep the Division II championships this year with Selma Fereres claiming the singles championship and Chloe Gavino and Abby Watson taking the doubles title and the three champions had little difficulty on Saturday during team-play with Gavino beating Danielle Quenzler (6-0, 6-1), Watson beating Jessi Kotowski (6-0, 6-0) and Fereres beating Nicole Quenzler (6-2, 6-0).
Annabelle Mulick and Halle Zadro finished in third place in doubles competition last week and they also came through on Saturday with Mulick beating Caroline Nieminen (6-1, 6-1) and Zadro beating Ashley Vogel (6-0, 6-1).
The Falcons of Cactus Shadows made their own history by making it to the final round for the first time since 1998.
Andy Fetsis led the Lions to a state championship last year and another this year and he, like Stevens, saw his team sweep the D-III singles and doubles titles. His daughter, Sofia Fetsis, won the state singles title and she carried that over by beating Fofo de Marneffe (6-1, 6-0) on Saturday to set the tone for the rest of her teammates.
Doubles champions Kate Maxfield and Hailey Brack also came through on Saturday. Maxfield beat Maya Abou-Haidar (6-1, 6-0) and Brack beat Kiran Tuli (6-1, 6-1) to put the Lions up 3-0. Colleen Harris beat Cristina Glascock (6-0, 6-0) and Reagan Blease beat Kati Dean for the win.
PUSCH RIDGE WINS EVERYTHING
As mentioned before, the Pusch Ridge girls won the state singles and doubles championship to go along with their team title and the boys did the same, except it took a bit longer.
Preston Grammond won his second singles championship in a row and he carried that over with a win over Adway Gopakumar (6-2, 6-2) during team play on Saturday. Doubles champions Christian Fetsis and Diego Rodriguez also won on Saturday with Christian Fetsis beating Jack Swenson (6-4, 6-2) and Rodriguez beating Avinashi Vikram (6-2, 3-6, 7-6 (12-10).
The match between Rodriguez and Vikram took three hours to complete and it proved to be the difference in the final score with Spartans taking three singles matches of their own to tie things up 3-3 to force doubles play. Aidan Bossone beat Alex D'Agostino (5-7, 6-2, 6-0), Michael Lemm beat Daniel Rodriguez (6-2, 6-4) and Tej Sareen beat Aaron Reese (6-3, 7-6).
Diego Rodriguez and Noah Jee beat Lemm and Anthony Sominsky (8-3) to put the Lions up 4-3 but Gopakumar and Bossone beat Reese and Daniel Rodriguez (8-3) to make it 4-4. Grammond and Fetsis beat Swenson and Vikram (8-2) for the win.
“This is awesome,” Andy Fetsis said. “I’m proud of the kids for doing something that hasn’t been done since 1988. They worked hard and it was a joy to see it.”
His son, Christian, is a senior and his daughter, Sofia, is a junior
“This was bittersweet because It’s Christian’s last high school game of his career,” Fetsis added. “But I have Sofia for one more year and I know she will fight hard to win another one.”
88 WINS IN A ROW AND COUNTING
The boys at Catalina Foothills won the 13th championship in school history Saturday but it has been a much longer road than the 14 by the girls with the first one coming in 1997. Jeffry Bloomberg took the program over in 2016 and he has three state championships and a 51-0 record to his name.
The win over Salpointe was the 88th win in a row for the Falcons so the streak (going back to 2013) predates Bloomberg but he is in control of the machine.
“The leadership from Mason (Lee) and George (Jiang) has been key for us,” Bloomberg said. “It also says a lot about the history of getting great athletes and good students in our program.”
Jiang won the 2017 singles title and he combined with Lee to win the doubles championship this year but he fell to Salpointe standout Harsh Parikh (6-1, 6-4) on Saturday. Lee beat Jack Mandala (7-6, 7-5) and Brendan Perry beat Jackson Hartenbach (6-1, 6-2) to keep things close.
Anton Nazaroff beat Eric Cho (6-1, 6-0) and Jeevaj Bondalapati beat Fredrik Dufwenberg (7-5, 6-7, 6-4) in another epic, three hour battle to help hold Salpointe back. Kevin McDaniels beat Krishna Dasika (1-6, 6-1, 6-2) to send the match to doubles where Jiang and Lee beat Parikh and Hartenbach 9-8 (6) for the 5-2 win.
Pusch Ridge boys and girls (Andy Morales/AZPreps365.com)