Although some of the names and faces are different, the Xavier Prep tennis program has a strong team once again in 2016.
On Tuesday (March 1), the Gators won their third match in as many attempts on the young season 8-1 over visiting Phoenix Horizon.
XCP coach Laurie Martin is aiming for a fifth straight Division I state championship, but will have to replace former ace Madison Clarke, who won three straight individual titles and was the azcentral.com Player of the Year in 2015.
Against Horizon, that spot was taken by freshman Tristanne Dechoux. As an indicator of the quality of play by younger players, the winner in the No. 1 match was Horizon’s Liza Isayev, also a freshman 6-2 and 6-1.
Triumphant in their matches were No. 2 Caroline James (6-1, 6-1), No. 3 Jordan Craft (6-2, 6-3), No. 4 Caroline Armknecht (7-5, 6-10, No. 5 Maddy Corley (6-1, 6-4) and No. 6 Stephanie Burkhard (6-2, 6-2).
Xavier had a three-game sweep in doubles. Dechoux and James won 8-5, Craft and Corley won 8-1 and Armknecht and Burkhard won 8-6.
Xavier returns to action with another home match on Thursday (March 3) against Phoenix Mountain Pointe. That is scheduled to start at 3:30 p.m.