Domination is winning a state championship 13 out of the last 17 years. Even better, the four “off” years for the girls of Catalina Foothills since 2000 included a third-place finish and three runner-up trophies. But, when you are used to being the last team standing, a runner-up finish is hard to accept.
The Falcons took second place to Arcadia (5-1) in 2015 and second to Notre Dame (5-4) last year. While that would be a career finish for a lot of programs, it was the first time the school had ever gone two years without a state championship.
“Looking forward to having Abby (Watson) back in the lineup,” head coach Kristie Stevens said.
“She and Halle (Zadro) are real leaders and play an important role in motivating the team. We have preparing all season for State and, with five returners, I expect our experience and team chemistry to be an asset going into the tournament. After falling in the championship match the last two years Abby and Halle are determined to make it our year to bring back the championship.”
Watson has been out for about four weeks due to a stress fracture but the two-time state doubles champion is expected to be cleared this week for the postseason set to begin on Friday, Apr. 21.
Watson and Zadro combined for the Division II doubles championship last year and Watson joined former standout Kirtana Bhat for the championship in 2015.
Stevens lost Morgan Chakraborty to graduation. Chakraborty took fourth in singles competition last year.
Catalina Foothills (12-0) is ranked No. 2 in Division II behind top-seeded Notre Dame Prep but the Saints played in three more matches and finished 15-0 on the year. The Falcons have one more regular season match scheduled against No. 31 Canyon del Oro (4-8) on Wednesday.
No. 6 Salpointe (9-3) is the only common opponent between Notre Dame and Catalina Foothills this year and the Lancers took three sets from Notre Dame last Wednesday while Catalina Foothills shut the Lancers out, 9-0, on Tuesday.
In fact, the Falcons have shutout every opponent they have faced this year. That’s 107 to 0 if you are counting (a doubles match with Sabino was cancelled).
Salpointe made it to the semifinal round last year and the Lancers have done pretty well this year with two freshmen and three sophomores in the starting rotation with freshmen Keeva Krueger and Samantha Loving taking the court against Catalina Foothills.
Likewise, Catalina Foothills sports freshmen talent with Selma Fereres in the second spot and Mira Raju has filled in nicely for Watson.
Salpointe still has two matches left, at No. 36 Sahuaro (4-8) on Thursday and at home against No. 16 Ironwood Ridge (9-3) next Tuesday, Apr. 18.
Catalina Foothills 9, Salpointe 0
Halle Zadro (CF) over Natalie Valcke, 6-3, 6-3
Selma Fereres (CF) over Samantha Loving, 6-4, 6-1
Camila Rezetko (CF) over Keeva Krueger, 6-4, 7-5
Peris Lopez (CF) over Emma Kinnison, 6-3, 6-4
Talya Rezetko (CF) over Emma Giclas, 6-4, 6-3
Mira Raju (CF) over Yanula Avila Kyriakis, 6-4, 6-0
Fereres/C. Rezetco (CF) over Valcke/Kruger, 9-7
Zadro/Nina O'Brien (CF) over Loving/Kinnison, 8-4
T. Rezetko/ Ximena Berrang (CF) over Cristina Cuevas/ Savannah Mundt, 8-3