The Xavier Prep-Phoenix Desert Vista badminton match came as advertised on Tuesday (Sept. 6).
The two had played for the Division I state team title last season (Xavier won) and had a few key players graduate, but new Xavier coach Sue Contreras theorized that the returning players were strong enough to produce a close, hard-fought match.
The teams had three singles victories apiece, setting up a decisive scenario between the three doubles entries.
Xavier’s duos stepped up when it counted the most, winning all three to give the team a 6-3 victory at the XCP Activity Center. Xavier (5-0) has another home match on Thursday (Sept. 8) against Mesa High.
“I had heard that Desert Vista had graduated some players (including Division I individual winner Karen Guo), but I knew they would be very competitive. They never give up,’’ Contreras said.
Senior Emily Woodrow, senior Kiana Valentove-Macdonald and sophomore Misaal Irfan posted singles victories for Xavier.
In doubles, Woodrow and Valentove-Macdonald teamed up for a 15-7, 15-6 win, senior Tatum Clarke and senior Annie Kamps rolled to a 15-1, 15-4 win, and junior Maddie Reinhart and Irfan prevailed in a marathon match, 16-17, 15-13 and 15-7.
“We did a good job of being able to rebound in those doubles matches,’’ Contreras said.
The win should give the Gators a mental boost.
“We have confidence, and we know we are good, but we also know that we still have a ways to go to get to where we want to be, and that’s winning the state championship,’’ Contreras said.