It was a close series of matches with both teams showcasing their strengths, but top-seeded Xavier was able to do just enough Thursday to beat Mountain Pointe for the state badminton title.
After the two teams split six singles matches, the Gators took two of the three doubles matches to eek out the 5-4 win.
The third-seeded Pride relied heavily on the duo of Kiyoko Hashimoto and Vi Koka in attempt to defend their team title.
They both won their singles matches and swept No. 1 doubles.
After the game Xavier coach Nancy Meyer explained by pointing out the team's numerous quality players.
“We have a deep team our depth is what did it for us,” Meyer said.
In between matches she talked to her team to settle them down and refocus the game.
“You are in state and you got to leave it on the court,” Meyer said. “We practiced hard and we knew what we had to do and we had to show up in the present.”
“We practiced hard and we had to show up in the present."
Meyer gave credit to her opponent.
“Mountain Pointe is always tough,” Meyer said.
Mallory Belknap of Xavier talked about her teams performance after the game. “We did well we pulled it out at the end. It was close. We are all mentally tough and we stayed strong as a team and we all worked together,” Belknap said.
The Pride’s coach Larry Holmes took the loss emotionally.
“We lost focused a little bit and we got side tracked a bit,” the first-year coach said.
Holmes was proud of the team’s performance throughout the night.
“We hung in there and we fought this team is a scrappy team and I am proud of them for scrapping,” Holmes said.
Koka felt this performance was better than the Pride’s last meeting with the Gators, who won 6-3 two weeks ago.
“Kristen McCann did amazingly in her singles I saw that coming because she has improved a lot,” Koka said.
“We played strong and we played better than we did last time,” she said.
Hashimoto said she was pround of the team despite being unable to repeat.
“Our singles was really at the top of the game and we really brought it to Xavier and splitting was exactly what we wanted,” she said.
Convert is a Arizona State journalism major interning at the AFN.
Phoenix Xavier Prep 5, Phoenix Mountain Pointe 4
No. 1 singles – Kiyoko Hashimoto (MP) def. Areta Buness (X), 11-4, 11-2.
No. 2 singles – Vaishnavi Koka (MP) def. Baani Khurana (X), 11-7, 11-5.
No. 3 singles – Kirelle Singarajah (X) def. Larae Keso (MP), 9-11, 11-9, 11-6.
No. 4 singles – Teal Weaver (X) def. Lisa Chavez (MP), 11-6, 11-1.
No. 5 singles – Mallory Belknap (X) def. Tara Garretson (MP), 11-7, 11-9.
No. 6 singles – Kristen McCann (MP) def. Hayden Riley (X), 6-11, 11-3, 11-6.
No. 1 doubles – Hashimoto-Koka (MP) def. Singarajah-Weaver (X), 15-0, 15-6.
No. 2 doubles – Khurana-Belknap (X) def. Garretson-McCann (MP), 15-8, 15-2.
No. 3 doubles – Buness-Riley (X) def. Keso-Chavez (MP), 10-15, 15-0, 15-7.