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Ridge towers at net

Tennis teams begin state runs

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Posted: Tuesday, April 21, 2009 11:00 pm | Updated: 1:23 pm, Mon Apr 18, 2011.

Some people may have been surprised a year ago, when the Ironwood Ridge boys' tennis team took a #5 seed in the state playoffs and turned it into a state championship, head coach Ryan Bais knows.

No surprises this season.

"Last year we were young and snuck up on some teams," said Bais. "This year we're the top seed, we returned five of our six starters — now people are worried about us."

"We're just trying to take their best shots," he added.

If the first round of state playoff action on Monday is an indicator, Ironwood Ridge certainly seems up to the challenge.

The #1 Nighthawks defeated #16-seed Kingman 5-0 at Ironwood Ridge, ensuring home court advantage for their quarterfinal match up with Rincon on Wednesday.

Led by #1 singles player junior Timothy Holten's 6-1, 6-1 victory over Jon Casson, the Nighthawks quickly dispatched the Bulldogs on a hot, bright day, taking slightly over an hour to secure advancement to the next round. Ironwood Ridge defeated Rincon three times in the regular season.

Rounding out the Ironwood Ridge scoring on Monday: junior Dillon Kennedy defeated Dustin Beasley (6-0, 6-0), sophomore Dylan Vo beat Zach Hiatt, (6-0, 6-0); senior Andrew Vo won over Cody Schonover (6-1, 6-0), and Conor Spiegel outplayed Taylor Aldridge (6-0, 6-0).

"All our kids, all the way through are real solid," said Bais. "They know what it is to play tennis, they play competitively, and they're serious about it."

While the Nighthawks' formidable lineup is talented from top to bottom, Bais said Andrew Vo'ssenior leadership counts for a lot this time of year.

"It's interesting, you always see when you have seniors, they tend to realize this is their last shot," said Bais. "They step up and take ownership of the team and take a leadership role."

While that last match will come eventually, Bais and the Nighthawks are focused on continuing the type of play that gave them an undefeated record and a 5A-II Southern region championship.

"We have to be on top of our game, people are trying to catch us," said Bais. "Nothing really changes for us, we just have to go out there and play."

That philosophy hasn't changed for Ironwood Ridge, despite the target that comes with defending a state title and earning a #1 seed in the state tournament. Bais and the team seem to relish it.

"It's gratifying to be 16-0 and be able to defend that spot," said Bais.

Ironwood Ridge girls' tennis

Two hours after the boys' tennis team authoritatively defeated Kingman by a 5-0 total, the #4-seed Nighthawk girls' team triumphed decisively over Phoenix Camelback by the same score, ending the Spartans' season and propelling Ironwood Ridge into a quarterfinal match up with #12 Anthem Boulder Creek on Wednesday.

Headed by dominant performances from the junior / senior co-captain duo of Shannon Contreras and Maile Hoffmann, the Nighthawks led throughout.

"(Contreras and Hoffmann) set the tone," said head coach Bill Little. "It's done in a very professional way — they go about their business."

That business-like tone was evident on Monday, as Ironwood Ridge efficiently utilized stifling defense and quick-moving offense en route to victory.

"We did very well," said Little. "We won five straight and the team played up to their game."

In addition to Contreras and Hoffmann's identical 6-0, 6-1 victories, winning efforts from three freshmen — Alex Prassas (6-1, 6-1), Holly Thomson (6-1, 6-2) and McKenzie Grenfell (6-0, 6-1) gave the Nighthawks the push they needed.

"We have got to try to keep that slope going up," Little said. "Right now that's the way it works, everyone gets better every time they play."

According to Little, improvement this time of year is important, as Ironwood Ridge's on-court success gives teams added incentive to play harder.

"Ironwood Ridge has a quite a good reputation in tennis," said Little. "Us and the boys' team."

That target won't faze Little as the team moves deeper into the playoffs.

"We've already established the fact that we're a team to beat," he said with a smile.

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HS Schedule

Tuesday, September 16

Boys Golf (@ 3 p.m.)

Buena, Cienega at Marana

Mountain View, Ironwood Ridge, Catalina at Amphi (Silverbell GC)

Catalina Foothills, Pueblo, Sahuarita at Sahuaro

Girls Volleyball (Fr 4 p.m., JV 5 p.m., Var 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Mountain View at Rio Rico

Ironwood Ridge at Glendale Ironwood

Swimming (@4 p.m.)

Pusch Ridge, Sahuarita at Desert Christian

Wednesday, September 17

Girls Golf (@ 3 p.m.)

Rincon at CDO

Ironwood Ridge, Desert View at Flowing Wells (Silverbell)

Cross Country (@4:30)

Salpointe at Catalina Foothills

Palo Verde, Nogales at Marana

Rincon, St. Gregory at CDO

Sahuarita, Pueblo, Pusch Ridge at Desert View

Girls Volleyball (Fr 4 p.m., JV 5 p.m., Var 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Empire at Marana (4:30, 5:30, 6:30)

CDO at Queen Creek

Cienega at Mountain View

Sahuaro at Catalina Foothills

Walden Grove at Pusch Ridge

Thursday, September 18

Girls Golf

CDO, Ironwood Ridge at Phoenix Aguila Invitational (all day)

Boys Golf

Sahuaro and Salpointe at Ironwood Ridge

CDO, Rincon, Sunnyside at Tucson High

Girls Volleyball (Fr 4 p.m., JV 5 p.m., Var 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Marana at Sahuarita

Ironwood Ridge at Sahuaro (4:30, 5:30, 6:30)

Catalina Foothills at Rincon

Pusch Ridge at San Manuel

Swimming (4 p.m.)

Marana vs. Tucson at Quincy Douglas Pool

Cienega at Marana

CDO, Ironwood Ridge at Amphi

Catalina Foothills at Sahuaro

Freshman Football (all games at 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Flowing Wells at Marana (4 p.m.)

Desert View at Mountain View

Cienega at CDO

Ironwood Ridge at Buena

Catalina Foothills at Sahuarita

JV Football (all games at 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Amphi at Marana

Santa Cruz Valley at Pusch Ridge

Mountain View at Desert View

CDO at Cienega

Buena at Ironwood Ridge

Sahuarita at Catalina Foothills

Friday, September 19

Boys Golf

Catalina Foothills, Ironwood Ridge, CDO, at Phoenix Aguila Invitational (all day)

Cross Country

Mountain View, Ironwood Ridge at Mt. Carmel Invitational (San Diego, CA)

Girls Volleyball

CDO at Westwood Tournament of Champions

Football (@7 p.m.)

Pusch Ridge at Santa Cruz Valley

Catalina at Marana

Desert Vista at Mountain View

Ironwood Ridge at Buena

Cienega at CDO

Catalina Foothills at Sahuarita

Saturday, September 20

Boys Golf

Catalina Foothills, Ironwood Ridge, CDO, at Phoenix Aguila Invitational (all day)

Cross Country

Marana at Old Pueblo Invite(Lincoln Park)

Mountain View at San Diego

Catalina Foothills, CDO at Ojo Rojo (Chandler, AZ)


Marana at Wolves Classic (Chandler High)

Girls Volleyball

CDO at Westwood Tournament of Champions


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