Nighthawks continue to mind the net - The Explorer: Sports

Nighthawks continue to mind the net

Boys are defending champs

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Posted: Tuesday, April 13, 2010 11:00 pm | Updated: 8:05 am, Thu Mar 24, 2011.

Tennis teams at Ironwood Ridge are enjoying fine seasons, earning 5A-II rankings of #2 for the boys and #4 for the girls.

The only team separating the Nighthawk boys from an unbeaten season is the Salpointe Lancers, who defeated the Nighthawks 6-3 in recent action. Earlier this season, Ironwood Ridge beat Salpointe 5-4.

Leading the boys team are #1 Timothy Holten and #2 Dillon Kennedy. The team's lone seniors are also the highest-ranking singles players.

"I feel comfortable with my position because of our depth," said Holten, whose lone losses have come against the Lancers. "I'm proud of our team."

After defeating Sunnyside 9-0 last Tuesday, the Nighthawks have now won nine matches by the score of 9-0, a true testament of the team's depth.

Holten counts his net play as a plus. "Doubles is my strength," he said. "I'm more of a team player."

Holton and Kennedy are defending two-time doubles champions.

"I like playing singles and doubles," Kennedy said. "Tennis is more of an individual sport. You don't have to put your (fate) in other's hands."

Kennedy has lost twice in singles and doubles.

"I really like to play all different aspects of the game," Kennedy said. "Most rallies finish at the net."

Kennedy reiterated the team's depth.

"Our depth is definitely a strength. It's nice to know your teammates are right with you. They'll take care of their business."

Kennedy plans to attend Arizona State University or the University of Pittsburgh, possibly in the biological science field.

The team's depth is rounded out by juniors Josh Taylor at #3, Conor Spiegel #5 and Dylan Vo at #6. Sophomore Alec Petford is #4.

Taylor and Spiegel were in the state finals last year in doubles.

Ryan Bais is in his fourth season coaching the boys.

"This is the first time we've been upper-class heavy," Bais said. "Our 1-6 are very good. (Winning at state) will be a lot tougher this year."


At state, singles and doubles matches for the boys are Friday, April 23 at the Phoenix Tennis Center. State play for teams begins next Monday, April 19 at the higher seed's court.

The Ironwood Ridge girls team has also found Salpointe to be a thorn. The girls are 12-2,  losing twice to the Lancers. Ironwood Ridge is unbeaten in conference play.

Coach Bill Little points out the team has been dominant for most of the season.

"When we win, we usually win about 9-0." Nine of the Nighthawks wins have been 9-0, while the other three wins came by 8-1 margins.

Senior Shannon Contreras is the team's #1 seed. Contreras has lost twice to Salpointe's Courtney Amos, one of the top five players in the state. Her other two losses were against Rincon.

"She's been spectacular all four years," Little said.

Last year, Contreras made it to the state championship finals. She's been hurt of late, but Little is hoping she'll be healed by state.

The Nighthawks have an impressive group of freshmen, such as #2 seed Sara Brown, #3 Marissa Baca and #4 Emma Bose.

Baca and Brown defeated the highly-touted Amos sisters in doubles. Baca is unbeaten in singles play. Brown's only singles loss came in a match with Salpointe.

Bose pairs with Contreras as part of the second doubles team. McKenzie Grenfell is #5 and Alex Prassas is the #6 seed.

At state, singles and doubles matches for the girls are Friday, April 23 at Paseo Racquet Center.

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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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