DON KETCHUM is a native of Phoenix. He was a sportswriter for The Arizona Republic/The Phoenix Gazette for nearly four decades. He covered high school sports on several occasions as well as the Arizona Diamondbacks, Arizona Cardinals and Arizona State sports. From 2008-14, he was a staff writer for, the web site of the Arizona Interscholastic Association.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

State tennis: Xavier has 1 in singles, 2 in doubles

After three straight state individual titles for Xavier’s Madison Clarke, a new tennis champion will be crowned in 2016.
With Clarke graduated and playing at Santa Clara, the torch has been passed to freshman Tristanne Dechoux, who is seeded fifth among Division I players.
Dechoux is among a core group of talented young players trying to help Xavier maintain its status as one of the state’s top programs.
Dechoux opens play at 10:30 a.m. on Friday (April 22) at Gene Autry Sports Complex in northeast Mesa. Her opponent will be Kelly Slattery of Phoenix Sandra Day O’Connor. If Dechoux wins that match, she would advance to the second round, also on Friday, at 1:30 p.m.
The tournament moves to the Scottsdale Ranch Park tennis center for the third round on Saturday (April 23). Semifinals and finals will be held on April 30 at the Paseo Racquet Center in Glendale.
“Tristanne has done an amazing job,’’ said XCP coach Laurie Martin. “She has won some big matches for us. She has worked very hard and is receptive to coaching.’’
The top two seeds in singles are No. 1 Josie Frazier of Scottsdale Desert Mountain and No. 2 Liza Isayev of Phoenix Horizon.
Xavier will have two teams in the doubles portion of the tournament.
Senior Caroline James and junior Jordan Craft are seeded fifth and sophomore Caroline Armknecht and sophomore Madeline Corley are seeded seventh. Xavier will be relying on the experience of James, who finished as consolation champion a year ago with now-graduated Scarlet Rush.
Doubles play begins at noon on Friday. First-round winners move on to the second round, at 3:30 p.m. Doubles teams follow the schedule listed above for the remainder of the tournament.
The top doubles seed is Mesa Mountain View sophomore twins Anya and Madeline Lamoreaux, who are the defending champions.
The team portion of the tournament will begin on April 27. Xavier (15-0) will host an opening-round match and possibly a second-round match on May 4. Semifinals are May 6 at Scottsdale Ranch Park, with finals on May 7 at the Paseo Racquet Center.
Martin is optimistic about her team’s chances of winning its fifth straight title and 19th overall.
“We knew this season would be tough,’’ Martin said. “We had some injuries and we had three road matches in a row (twice). We have really come together. We knew many of the girls were young, but they responded to the pressure.
“Watching last year’s team was rewarding because of the girls’ experience, and this year has been rewarding in a different way, due to how everybody has stepped up.’’

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