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Giving everyone in attendance a coronary, the Verde Valley School girls tennis team was able to win two close matches to claim the school’s first 1A conference team state championship this past weekend.

In the 1A team semifinals, the Coyotes were able to just get past St. David High School, 5-4, to earn themselves a slot in the championship match against Duncan High School, who they defeated 5-4 to claim the title.

“These girls played so awesome, it was great to see them accomplish this feat,” Verde Valley Athletic Director Matt Moran said.

verde_valley_school_state_tennis_championsIn both matches, teammates and fans had to sit through a doubles match tied 4-4, hoping and praying sophomores Danielle Kovac-Ortiz and Morgan Binder would pull off a victory.

Against St. David on April 30, Kovac-Ortiz and Binder teamed to defeat their opponent after a long tiebreaker, 11-10 [7-4].

The pair were actually down 9-6 in double match point, but were able to come all the way back to get the victory.

In the championship match Saturday, May 1, almost the same exact thing happened, with Verde Valley tieing Duncan 4-4 heading into the final match of the day for a state championship.

Kovac-Ortiz and Binder came through once again, defeating their Duncan opponent 10-8.

The pair was actually up 4-1 and well on their way to a title but struggled in the middle of the match and found themselves trailing 7-4. However, they were able to rebound quickly to get the victory.

In singles play, two-time defending individual state champion Cassi Kovac was able to defeat both her opponents against St. David [6-2, 6-1] and Duncan [6-2, 6-1].

Additionally, senior Sarah Jane Slater was lights out in both singles matches she played over the weekend, winning both, 6-0, 6-0.

The two paired in doubles play and were able to defeat St. David [10-1] and Duncan, 10-4.

“Those two girls put on a clinic out there. I think Duncan was a bit surprised on how well they played, and dominated,” Moran said.

Duncan won the doubles individual championship just a week earlier.


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