5/8/2013 10:04:00 AM Tennis Bears cap strong season with state semifinals loss
Trib Photo/Cheryl Hartz
The Bradshaw Mountain boys’ tennis team – varsity (back row) and junior varsity – poses with assistant coach Nick Crestia, right, before a late season home match. The No. 4 Bears ended the year with a state team semifinals loss to No. 1 Notre Dame on Friday.
Cassandra Beswick battles for a point during a home doubles match this past tennis season. Trib Photo/Cheryl Hartz
The No. 4-ranked Bradshaw Mountain High Bears' tennis team slammed into a brick wall Friday in the form of No. 1 Notre Dame in their quest for a state title. The Saints won 5-0, but lost the championship 5-4 to No. 3 Ironwood Ridge the following day.
Bradshaw head coach Joe Borzello said the loaded Scottsdale team was what he expected, but the Bears competed well against them, with numerous long rallies among the singles matches.
"I was watching us play close to their level and it was fun," Borzello said. "We had a lot of balls in play."
Austin Powell and his Saints' opponent had split sets and were slugging out the deciding third when the match was called after Notre Dame was first to five wins.
"I'm so proud of both teams," Borzello said. "I knew our boys would be a top five team because they did work over the summer. They did what they were supposed to do. I'm actually more proud of the girls, because their development was a lot more than the boys."
He said the Lady Bears worked six days a week throughout the season to improve their skills after losing two of their top players to graduation the previous year.
"They fought every match, and never gave up," he said. "To lose our number two and three in the same year and still have the season that we had is amazing. If I gave a most improved award, the whole team would get it. They played real tennis; it was exciting. Remarkable, there's no other word."
He predicts the ladies' team, who entered state competition ranked No. 11, will be even better next year, despite losing No. 1 Delaina Harris to graduation.
"They all are talking about getting out over the summer and training; they want to," he said.
Borzello noted that the No. 2 doubles team of Cassidy Ball and Cassandra Beswick went 8-0 in Div. II during regular season and 8-1 overall.
Another player to watch for next season in her senior year is current No. 5 Alyssa "Attitudes" Turner.
"She made her opponents work for every point," Borzello said, then laughed about the nickname he had bestowed upon her.
He called all of his tennis athletes "nice, polite kids," and said other coaches praised them for their sportsmanship every match.