DENVER — — When Natalie Munson went to bed on Friday night, she probably didn’t dream her championship match would go like this.
If she did, she probably would have woke up in a cold sweat.
The Fairview sophomore, playing in her second straight No. 2 singles championship at Gates Tennis Center, was blanked by Denver East’s Natalia Dellavalle 6-0, 6-0 in just under and hour.
“I walked in and I had a ton of nerves and I don’t think I got them out until the very end,” said Munson, who lost to Dellavalle in the regular season too. “She came out and played better tennis than I did.”
After opening the match with a booming ace, it quickly went the wrong way for Munson.
Dellavalle, a senior, was the human equivalent of a wall was content playing deep behind the baseline and allowing Munson to make the errors. The first set lasted just 25 minutes and Dellavalle won the last 11 points to close it out.
That one game that might have turned the tide was the third game of the second set. Munson had three game points go by the wayside and Dellavalle closed it out with back-to-back winners and a Munson error.
“Then I would have known how to lay and what to do and how to get that one point,” Munson said. “But truly I was just stuck and I wasn’t changing a lot of things. It was in my head.”
Said Fairview coach Susan Stensrud: “She just had a hard time fighting off the nerves and Natalia is strong and doesn’t make any errors.”
The numbers bore that out to. Dellavalle did make just six unforced errors in the match against just eight winners. The number that stood out was Munson’s 27 unforced errors.
“She doesn’t miss and I did have to force a few shots, but even when I tried, I wasn’t making them like I usually was,” Munson said.
Fairview’s young No. 4 doubles team of Carolyn Roberts and Ellie Savage staved off two match points in the second set tiebreaker, forced a third set and eventually lost to Cherry Creek’s Kara Lee and Jessica Diamond 6-2, 6-7 (6), 6-4.
Ever the slow starting team according to Stensrud, Roberts and Savage got going in the second and had all the momentum going to the third after winning the final four points of the tiebreaker.
“They are the best team we have ever played,” Savage said.
Creek jumped out to a quick 3-1 lead, before Fairview rallied back to even. A crazy fifth game that featured seven deuces typified the back-and-forth nature of the match.
“They were very mature and they didn’t freak out about being behind,” Stensrud said. “The don’t worry about being behind. I thought they were very steady and deliberate and they get to everything.”
The Knights finished fifth in the team race with 25 points. Cherry Creek won its 18 straight and 32 overall title with 83 points and Front Range League champion Fossil Ridge was second with 51 points.
Reigning No. 1 singles champion Rebecca Weissmann of Loveland was beat in straight set by fellow sophomore Tate Schroeder of Arapahoe, 6-4, 6-3.
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Class 5A State Tournament
At Gates Tennis Center
Team scores — Cherry Creek 83, Fossil Ridge 51, Arapahoe 47, Denver East 44, Fairview 25, Ralston Valley 15, Loveland 14, Ponderosa 12, Highlands Ranch 8, Lakewood 5, Mountain Vista 4, Greeley West 3, Heritage 3, Chatfield 2, Fruita Monument 2, Legacy 2, Mountain Range 2, Rock Canyon 2, Rocky Mountain 2, Dakota Ridge 1, George Washington 1, Liberty 1.
No. 1 singles — Tate Schroeder, Arapahoe def. Rebecca Weissmann, Loveland, 6-4, 6-3 .
No. 2 singles — Natalia Dellavalle, Denver East def. Natalie Munson, 6-0, 6-0.
No. 3 singles — Madeline Roberts, Cherry Creek def. Emma Jo Wiley, Fossil Ridge, 6-2, 6-0.
No. 1 doubles — Mia Hoover/Rachael Scheber, Cherry Creek def. Andrea Motley/Shelby Mavis, Fossil Ridge, 6-2, 6-3 .
No. 2 doubles — Jessie Murphy/Hanna Fernley, Cherry Creek def. Nicole Newell/Sam Penhale, Fossil Ridge, 6-2, 7-5.
No. 3 doubles — Bridget O’Brien/Laura Wilms, Arapahoe def. Sarah Grace Walker/Phoebe Mackenzie, Cherry Creek, 6-2, 6-7 (5), 7-6 (2).
No. 4 doubles — Kara Lee/Jessica Diamond, Cherry Creek def. Carolyn Roberts/Ellie Savage, Fairview, 6-2, 6-7 (6), 6-4.
No. 1 singles —
Gloria Son, Cherry Creek def. Bria Smith, Denver East, 6-3, 1-6, 6-2.
No. 2 singles — Kaitlyn Motley, Fossil Ridge def. Julia Mannino, Cherry Creek, 6-4, 6-4.
No. 3 singles — Claire Cox, Ponderosa def. Kaye Johnson, Denver East, 4-6, 6-0, 6-3.
No. 1 doubles —
Brooke Jacks/Nicole Eiten, Highlands Ranch def. Abigail Kruz/Natalie Sloboth, Arapahoe, 6-3, 6-2.
No. 2 doubles — Caroline Berzins/Laura Wells, Denver East def. Allison Snyder/Sarah Shortall, Arapahoe, 6-3, 6-4.
No. 3 doubles — Taylor Toepeke/Tara Teslow, Fossil Ridge def. Risa Eck/Lucy Sherman, Ralston Valley, 6-2, 6-7 (5), 6-2.
No. 4 doubles — Adrien Horowitz/Hayley Weidemann, Ralston Valley def. Bria Busta/Natalie Betts, 6-2, 6-7 (3), 6-4.
Late playback match
No. 3 doubles —
Taylor Toepeke/Tara Teslow, Fossil Ridge def. Ellie Lupo/Katharine Lane, Fairview, 6-4, 6-2.