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Tennis season should produce more good than bad

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Posted: Sunday, March 16, 2014 8:45 am

The tennis season is well under way and it has gone pretty much as preseason expectations indicated.

The Desert Vista programs bring back talent, experience and high hopes, while the Mountain Pointe squads usher in new names and some growing pains.

There is plenty of time before the state tournaments get under way the final week of April to change the course of the season or keep it rolling along.

The Desert Vista girls will probably like to keep it heading in the direction they’ve started as the Thunder opened the year 2-0 including an impressive 7-2 win over Salpointe Catholic, which is consistently one of the state contenders each season.

The Thunder has three players that can play at No. 1 singles with junior Melissa Kahn, junior Yolena Carlon and senior Tori Kammerzell giving Desert Vista a big three very few programs can match.

The Thunder has plenty of depth as well with junior Anne Carsey, freshman Sara Tamburo and sophomore Mikayla Mularoni being counted on for the second half of the lineup.

The Desert Vista boys lineup might not be a strong one through six, but the Thunder (1-1) has some quality players.

It starts with Yusuf Saleem, who is ranked No. 8 in the USTA in the Southwest rankings, as the sophomore continues the Saleem tradition at DV.

Senior Alex Cook is a solid No. 2, while senior Tommy Mai has shown some improvement as the No. 3. A pair of freshmen — Aditya Bollam and Josh Caballero — will be counted on as well.

“We have a great group who all work well together,” first-year coach Austin Goe said. “They practice a minimum of six days of week and they are very motivated. I’m very excited to see how we match up against other teams.”

The Mountain Pointe teams have gone a 0-4 by the score of 33-3 so clearly some work needs to be done.

The Pride girls lost a big and competitive graduating class last spring. It leaves a pair of juniors — ViAnn Pham and Carla Poplawski — at the top of the lineup.

Pham lost in the first round of the state tournament last season, while Poplawski advanced to the second round before being eliminated.

The Pride’s boys team was hurt when the projected No. 1 and No. 2 left the program unexpectedly.

It moves junior Duke Cobb, freshman Harrison Collins and freshman Justin Williams up a couple more slots in the lineup.

“This year’s team will be rebuilding but that will not be an excuse for us not competing,” Pride coach Larry Holmes said. “We have a good group of guys. We will grow and improve throughout this season.”

• Contact writer: (480) 898-7915 or Follow him on Twitter @JSkodaAFN.

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Jason P. Skoda
  • Jason P. Skoda
  • Sports writer
  • Resident sports writer at the Ahwatukee Foothills News

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