Third-seeded Page moved into the quarterfinals of the Division III state girls tennis tournament Tuesday with its third victory over Northland Prep this season, 9-0.
Page’s Kiaya Park and the Spartans’ Brianna Biddle closed out nearly three hours of tennis in windy Page, Park winning the No. 1 singles match 7-6 (7-4) and 6-1.
Park and Biddle had split two earlier matches this season in a 7-2 Page win in Flagstaff March 28 and an 8-1 victory for the Sand Devils last Tuesday in Page. The unbeaten Sand Devils will host Sabino (Tucson) Tuesday at 3 p.m., the winner going on to play in the semifinals in the Valley on Cinco de Mayo. Sabino beat Miami, 5-1.
Third-year Page coach Kori Fitch complimented the 14th-seeded Spartans on providing the kind of competition to help Page improve and build for the postseason. Northland Prep won six of its first seven matches and finished 7-4.
“It sure does help to have a really good team to play,” Fitch said. “That pushes them every time.”
Page (12-0) opened with a doubles sweep, Park and Saria Bryan beating Biddle and Kate Bailey at No. 1, 8-4; Jordyn Boldin and Ivy UBarco defeating Mackenzie Bonny and Sophia Strube at No. 2, 8-3; and Brooke Engle and Kelsey Smith beating Lin Taylor and Hannah Robino at No. 3, 8-5.
Bryan beat Bailey at No. 2 singles, 6-1, 6-1. Boldin defeated Bonny at No. 3, 6-3, 6-2 and Engle took Robino at No. 4, 6-2, 6-2. Smith, Page’s No. 5, defeated Taylor, 6-1, 6-1 and UBarco also won 6-1, 6-1, over Strube at No. 6 singles.
NPA coach Suzi Haertzen said she had not expected Page, 12-2 last year, to be as strong as it has demonstrated this year. Page lost its top two players to graduation.
“Their coach has done a lot of work with their girls, and they have a lot of really strong girls," Haertzen said.
Haertzen has no seniors on this year’s team. “We hope our girls will continue to practice their tennis over the summer and get stronger, and we’ll hopefully be a better team next year.”
Page won its first two state matches in its single season in Division II last year and lost in the quarterfinals. The Sand Devils had qualified for the Division III championship match the previous year.
“We have a pretty good record for first round,” Fitch said. “It’s the other rounds that get a little tougher. We’ll see what happens in the draw right now."
CACTUS SHADOWS 5, COCONINO 1
Playing without one of their top players, the No. 12 Coconino Panthers wrapped up their best season in program history with a first-round loss to the No. 5 Cactus Shadows Falcons.
With No. 1 singles player Faith Daab earning Coconino's lone victory, the Panthers did not have senior Kailey Baker, who has been out of the lineup due to illness. Winning 12 matches this year, the Panthers easily surpassed the previous team record of nine victories.
Northland Prep Academy grinded its way to a six-stroke victory over Sedona Red Rock in a three-school match held April 25 at the Forest Highlands Meadow Course.
The Spartans took three of the top four individual spots in the competition, played in cool temperatures combined with strong, gusty winds. Chino Valley took third place.
Northland Prep's Vincent Cortese fired a 3-over 39 to lead the team to the win. That score was good for a playoff victory in the individual scoring over teammate Simon Trebon, who also carded 39. Other Spartan scores included Devon Gussio, who took fourth place with a 42, while Taylor Bailey finished in eighth with a 47.
With the victory NPA increased its lead in Section 5 over Sedona to 3.0 strokes. The Spartans now stand in 5th place in the overall AIA Division III standings with two matches remaining.
Cortese, who recorded his eighth individual medalist honors of the season out of 11 events, now stands in seventh place in the statewide regular season individual standings.
The Spartans' next competition will take place April 28 and 29 in the 36-holes High Desert Invitational held at Antelope Hills Golf Club in Prescott.
CAMP VERDE 6, NORTHLAND PREP 5, 9 INNINGS
Fighting for an undefeated region record and first ever region title, the No. 4 Northland Prep Spartans fell to the No. 5 Camp Verde Cowboys Tuesday evening.
The loss dropped the Spartans into a tie with the Cowboys for the region lead, with Camp Verde holding the tiebreak by virtue of a better conference record. Jacob McDaniel threw 5 2/3 innings, allowing four runs before Zach Tweed threw the final three innings and allowed two runs.
Zev Axler led the way offensively with a 4-for-4 day, including three runs scored and a double, while the team had timely hits from Tweed and Jack Sullivan.
With Sullivan hitting a game-tying double to give his team the chance in extra innings, Tweed put the Spartans ahead late in the game with a double of his own.
Northland Prep finishes the season with a home meeting Wednesday at 3:45 p.m. against 1A Joseph City.
FLAGSTAFF 6, WASHINGTON 0
With Rylan DoBosh throwing a complete game shutout while striking out six, the No. 10 Flagstaff Eagles easily beat the No. 34 Washington Rams Monday in Phoenix.
Flagstaff gave DoBosh two runs to work with before he took the mound, scoring twice in the first before adding another two in the third and fourth. Allowing two hits and walking two, DoBosh's control of the strike zone kept the Eagles ahead throughout the game.
Shane Kuzmin finished the day 2 for 2 with a stolen base and Evan Wissen drove home two runs while going 2 for 3.
Flagstaff hosts Mohave for a doubleheader Wednesday at home, wrapping up the regular season. The first game will begin at 1 p.m., with the second set for 3:30.