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.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

State tennis doubles like looking in a mirror

Sophomore Lorelei Glidden was excited that she and her Xavier Prep doubles teammate, senior Kate Straneva, won their third-round match in the Division I state tournament on Saturday (April 21) at Gene Autry Park in Mesa, earning a spot in next Friday’s (April 27) quarterfinals.

Glidden and Straneva are the sixth-seeded team, and they will play the No. 3 seed in the next round.

If the opponent looks familiar, they should.

In a strange twist of fate, Glidden and Straneva will face none other than their Xavier teammates, sophomores Erica Stutz and Emily Even, at approximately 3:30 p.m. on Friday at the Paseo Racquet Center in Glendale.

The winner would advance to the semifinals next Saturday morning (April 28) at Paseo. Semifinal winners meet for the title later that afternoon.

“We are excited for the chance,’’ Glidden said.

Said Straneva: “At first, we didn’t even think we were going to be in the tournament, then we got the six seed. Now this is the next step.’’

The two Xavier teams played a bit against each other back at Xavier on Saturday morning as they prepared for their mid-day matches across town.

Glidden and Straneva defeated Melia Menke and Alexis Markan of Phoenix Pinnacle, 6-1, 6-2. Stutz and Even defeated Elly Klages and Jordan Witter of Chandler Basha, 6-0, 6-2.

“Being the No. 6 seed means Lorelei and Kate would have had to play a tough match, anyway, but it’s kind of unfortunate that it has to be their own team,’’ said Xavier coach Laurie Martin.

So will the teams do some “trash talking’’ this coming week?

“Yes, probably, the whole nine yards,’’ Even said. “It’s going to be fun.’’

Martin said Glidden and Straneva complement each other well.

“It will be tough for them,’’ Martin said. “There are some things that they do very well. Lorelei sets up good shots when she’s working along the baseline, and Kate does a good job of finishing out shots near the net.’’

Straneva and Even also have a good working relationship.  They have been playing together for quite some time and did so at the Junior Team Tennis national tournament in Orlando in September. Stutz also played singles. Even earned a sportsmanship award that included the whole country.

While both players are well-rounded, Even looked good at the net and Stutz along the baseline with a strong power game. Even said she had been working with some of the Xavier coaches, having them hit higher shots toward the middle of the court while she attempted to get in position to return them.

The things that help them set the tone for the match, according to Stutz, are strong serves.

“If you get your serves in from the beginning, you have a good chance to win,’’ she said.

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