15 West Valley View, Avondale, Arizona, Friday, April 27, 2012
View photo by Michael Clawson
VERRADO’S NATALIE FLEMMING hits a return against Laurie Snyder of Cactus Shadows Wednesday in the first round of the Division II state team tennis tournament. Flemming won her match, 4-6, 6-4 and 6-1 but the Lady Vipers fell, 5-1.
Verrado girls fall in state’s 1st round
by Casey Pritchard assistant sports editor
Verrado girls tennis team’s year ended a bit too early.
After a fantastic regular season, the
The No. 3 Lady Vipers lost 5-1 to 14th-seeded Cave Creek Cactus Shadows on Wednesday in the opening round of the Division II state
tournament, despite a pair of valiant efforts by their top two players. After dropping her opening set and
falling behind in the second, No. 1 player Natalie Flemming stormed back to win and keep the match alive, and No. 2 Kelsey Dauod faced a pair of set points but came back to win her opening set in a tiebreak. Unfortunately, Dauod fell in three sets after 2 hours, 55 minutes, which gave Cactus Shadows the victory. “I’m so tired,” Dauod said after her marathon match. “I’ve never had to play a match that long. I couldn’t do it. There were too many errors on my part, and she was good.”
Dauod lost to Alexa Jenouri, 6-7 (6-8), 6-4, 6-3. She gave Verrado some hope after each of the Lady Vipers’ other five players had lost their opening set. “I thought she could do it, but maybe
“Usually when your opponent rushes to the net you automatically go, ‘Oh, what do I do?’ It’s quick thinking,” Flemming said. “But she was really tall so lobbing wasn’t really an option. I just had to find angles and get her under.” Flemming did that and it worked to perfection. Flacco was really pleased by her turnaround. “She wasn’t playing well, and I knew she could win,” he said. “I tried to motivate her and talk with her, I coached her a little bit with strategy, we tried to change the game, don’t do the opponent’s game. We tried to change our strategy and I’m very happy. She’s a very good player.” Flemming said the victory was really
View photo by Ray Thomas
P.J. GARCIA of Verrado steps on second and throws to first in an attempt to complete a double play Wednesday against Desert Edge. Garcia had three hits and scored three runs to help the Vipers prevail, 15-8, and improve their record to 25-2.
exciting, especially considering she lost in the round of 16 at the state individual tournament, one round from qualifying for this weekend’s quarterfinal action. “Senior year, and my last match, it really meant a lot after losing in the third round of individual state over the weekend,” Flemming said. “It really meant a lot to be able to win at state again.”
More singles matches At No. 3, Taylor Parsons lost to Katy Radez, 6-3, 6-0, while Ashley Izzo lost at No. 4 to Anne Weber, 6-0, 6-1. At No. 5, Sarah Timothy fell to Katy
they need more experience, more conditioning,” coach Marco Flacco said. “I’ll work with them during the season on footwork. That’s what I think is 50 percent of the tennis game. Their girls probably have more experience than my girls.” With Dauod locked in a tight match after pulling out her first set, Flemming was slowly creeping back into hers against Laurie Snyder. Flemming lost the first set 6-4 and was trailing 4-1 in the second before winning the next five games and evening the match. “My game was really off in the
beginning, I kept missing my first serve and we kept breaking each other’s serve, so it was a back-and-forth kind of thing,” Flemming said. “I finally said to myself, ‘One point at a time, I can win this.’ I just needed to get my game back.”
Flemming sure did, as after a victorious second set she won another five in a row to open the third set. After a quick one- game setback, she won the next one to close out the set, 6-1. One of the keys for Flemming was playing the angles on the court, especially when Snyder would come to the net.
Snyder, 6-2, 6-0, while Shani Park lost at No. 6, 6-3, 6-1, to Kiri Campbell. Those two were both playing up a spot, as Verrado had an ineligible girl. “We had to put JV 1 in there, and move the No. 6 up,” Flacco said. “Maybe it could be different, but Cactus Shadows was very good. You can tell they have more experience.” Despite Timothy and Park playing up a spot, the tandem was doing well at the start of doubles when the match was halted because Cactus Shadows had won their fifth singles match. They were battling head to head and were down only 4-3.
“They were playing well,” Flacco said. “When you play with somebody better you’re going to play better.” Despite the loss, Verrado finished the year 13-2 in Flacco’s first season as head coach. He was pleased with the girls’ effort and looks forward to the coming years.
the first season and first time I coached high school,” he said. “It’s been a good season, we got third in the power-ranking position out of 60 high schools. I’m very happy, very proud of my girls.”
“I can’t complain because for me it was
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