Sports Stories

Sedona Red Rock High School’s boys and girls tennis teams discovered winning ways when they hosted Kingman High School on Friday, March 10.

The Scorpions boys [2-1] got a clean sweep, winning the match 9-0 while the girls [1-3] grabbed their first win of the season, 6-3.

“I think it’s a great boost,” girls head coach Claudette Lalibrete said. “It shows now they are starting to believe they can do it.”

With senior No. 1 player Fernanda Valencia out, all of the players had to play one place higher than normal, a challenge they met. Junior Sarah Lynch won 8-2 in place of Valencia.

Juniors Erandi Mojica and Verdi Trinidad won their matches, 8-3 and 8-2, respectively. Freshmen Aria Harness and Leilani Olson have emerged as two of the team’s most dependable players.

Against what Lalibrete said was a stacked lineup, where Kingman’s regular No. 1 played in the No. 4 slot against Harness, Harness lost 9-7. Olson won her match 8-2.

“Aria and Leilani have been really hanging in there and getting us points consistently as the matches have gone on,” Lalibrete said.

Senior and first-year player Yazmin Ramirez lost 8-0.

In doubles, Lynch and Mojica combined to win the No. 1 match 8-2. Harness and Olson won 8-6 while Trinidad and Ramirez lost 8-2.

“Because they [the team] have played every match, they’re getting more match tough, with longer rallies,” Lalibrete said. “You can see they’re getting a little more focused on the court and it matters.”

As temperatures rise moving forward, Lalibrete wants her team to continue to improve its fitness and maintain its focus.

On Thursday, March 9, the girls lost 8-1 to Northwest Christian High School.

The boys team beat the Bulldogs in lopsided fashion; the closest score between singles and doubles was 8-2.

Junior No. 1 Max Knaus, sophomore No. 2 Kai Zimmerman and No. 6 freshman Frank Alves all won 8-0. Knaus and Zimmerman would not drop a single game all day, winning their doubles match by the same score.

No. 3 Leo Gonzalez won his singles match 8-2 and paired up with No. 4 Javier Diaz to win their doubles match 8-2.

Diaz won his singles match 8-1. No. 5 Trevor Stovall won his singles match 8-1 as well, and teamed up with Alves to win 8-2 in doubles.

“They all played better, what is important is the kids moved their feet better and were striking the ball better,” head coach Phil Kovac said. “I look for improvement and I saw that.”

Three matches into the season Kovac is seeing his young, more inexperienced players focus on winning more, just like the girls.

“They’re coming around, they’re listening and getting over the stage of fun and games. They want to win now,” Kovac said. “It’s nice to see them get more ambitious and focused a little better.”

Even his best players have improved during the short time the season has been alive, and seems them hitting their stride by their fifth match.