BOULDER — The Fairview girls tennis team has the drill down: Host regionals, and cruise to the team title with all seven positions advancing to the state tournament.
The Knights did just that Thursday, dominating the Class 5A Region 2 tournament.
The Knights won titles at six positions and finished with 80 team points, 26 better than runner-up Rocky Mountain (54). Arvada West took third with 36. Legacy finished sixth with 1.
“We definitely come into each match with focus but this one is especially important,” said No. 2 singles player Katie Kuosman, who breezed to a 6-0, 6-0 title match victory over Legend’s Alexandra Sheppard. “So I think that helps just knowing we have to keep our concentration.”
The Knights took five title matches in straight sets Thursday, and won another by injury default while leading in the first set.
The only blemish came at No. 1 singles, where Monica Li dropped a 5-7, 7-5, 6-2 decision to Rocky Mountain’s Cara Cromwell in the best match of the day.
After trailing 3-0 in the first set, Li roared back and looked to be heading toward a sweep in the second set.
“I did (think I had the match won),” said Li, who still advances to state as one of the top two regional finishers at her position. “But I missed some shots here and there, and she played well, took it to three (sets) and beat me.”
The loss was Li’s second in a week to Cromwell, who topped Li 6-2, 6-2 in the Front Range League championship match.
But FHS coach Susan Stensrud said she believes the duels with Cromwell will only serve Li well heading into a fairly wide open No. 1 singles draw at state.
“Experience is key and having hard matches is key,” Stensrud said.
No other Knights struggled.
Katie Li, Monica’s younger sister, matched Kuosman with a 6-0, 6-0 win of her own at No. 3 singles. Megan Thayer and Paris Hogan rolled 6-3, 6-2 at No. 1 doubles over Rocky’s Nicole Leinhart and Hannah Manning.
The No. 3 doubles duo of Caroline Kruger and Lindsey Nguyen and No. 4 pair of Hannah Embree and Sonia Ghosh, meanwhile, combined to drop only three games total in their two matches.
Hayley Young and Jessee Clauson took their title at No. 2 doubles after one of their Arvada West opponents suffered a sprained ankle and couldn’t continue playing.
Now the Knights, last year’s state runners-up, head into state at Gates Tennis Center next week once again as the squad with the best shot of unseating juggernaut Cherry Creek from Class 5A’s top spot.
“I think (beating Creek) is too big to think about right now,” Kuosman said. “But it’s definitely one of our goals.”
Legacy began Thursday with two positions still in play, but neither advanced to state.
Sydney Kochevar and Liz Keil fell in a consolation semifinals match at No. 3 doubles to be eliminated.
No. 4 doubles team Jenny Madsen and A.Z. Zinn, meanwhile, dropped a hard-fought 6-2, 6-7(5), 6-2 third-place match to Rocky Mountain’s Kim Catlett and Emily Zachman, ending the Lightning’s season.
“I’m a senior so it was sort of like, ‘Just try your best because it could be the last match you play,'” Zinn said.
Class 5A Region 2 tennis
At Fairview High School
Fairview 80, Rocky Mountain 54, Arvada Wet 36, Legend 28, Standley Lake 3, Legacy 1, Thornton 0.
Singles — 1. Cara Cromwell, Rocky Mountain, def. Monica Li, Fairview, 5-7, 7-5, 6-2; 2. Katie Kuosman, Fairview, def. Alexandra Sheppard, Legend, 6-0, 6-0; 3. Katie Li, Fairview, def. Natalie House, Rocky Mountain, 6-0, 6-0.
Doubles — 1. Megan Thayer/Paris Hogan, Fairview, def. Nicole Leinhart/Hannah Manning, Rocky Mountain, 6-3, 6-2; 2. Hayley Young/Jessee Clauson, Fairview, def. Mallory McCasky/Elizabeth Waters, Arvada West, 2-0, inj. def.; 3. Caroline Kruger/Lindsey Nguyen, Fairview, def. Larissa Woods/Natasha Williams, Legend, 6-0, 6-1; 4. Hannah Embree/Sonia Ghosh, Fairview, def. Alisa Artuomenko/Mary Lastoczy, Arvada West, 6-1, 6-1.
LOCAL THIRD-PLACE MATCHES
Doubles — 4. Kim Catlett/Emily Zachman, Rocky Mountain, def. Jenny Madsen/A.Z. Zinn, Legacy, 6-2, 6-7(5), 6-2.