Heritage duo finish as runners up

Posted 5/14/09

Madeleine Mathis and Ashley Blaylock just wanted to go as far as they could in this year’s Class 5A girls tennis state championships. Teamed up for …

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Heritage duo finish as runners up


Madeleine Mathis and Ashley Blaylock just wanted to go as far as they could in this year’s Class 5A girls tennis state championships.

Teamed up for the first time, Mathis, a freshman at Heritage High School, and Blaylock, a senior in her only season on varsity, finished the season as the state’s No. 4 doubles runner up May 9 at the Gates Tennis Center in Denver after facing the eventual champions Cherry Creek.

“It was a lot of fun, coming out and going this far was really exciting,” Blaylock said.

The Heritage duo’s road to the finals wasn’t handed to them easily. After a 6-0, 6-0 victory over their counterparts from Legacy in the first round of the 4-dubs bracket, Mathis and Blaylock went down one set against a team-title hungry Grand Junction duo. The Eagles pulled together to split sets and won in three 3-6, 6-4, 6-2.

In the semifinals, Heritage fought another close one. A tie-breaker in their favor allowed them to win the first set against Ponderosa, also in the hunt for a team title, 7-6(4) but fell in the second set 4-6.

Mathis and Blaylock pulled together to win the third set 6-1 and advance to the 4-dubs finals against Krysta Zayac and Lauren Broyhill of Cherry Creek. The Heritage pair split sets with the No. 1 ranked Bruins team but finished in second place in one of the tournament’s most exciting finals.

Mathis said the duo’s focus was to simply play as hard as they could against Cherry Creek.

“We knew they are pretty good, cha’,” Mathis said. “We just wanted to come out and have confidence.

“They had a left-handed [player] and a right-handed one, so its pretty easy to go down the middle where they both hit backhands.”

Blaylock said after qualifying for the state tournament and seeing the competition ahead of them, there were a few familiar faces.

“We have seen some of them before,” the senior said. “We came out with some confidence, but we knew we would have some tough matches. We just decided to play our best and see how far we got. … It was the same thing we’ve been doing all year.

“[Against the Bruins], we saw some holes, so we just focused on putting the ball there the best we could.”

Despite both Eagles not having any high school varsity experience, Blaylock said she felt they made a solid team and the trust they had for each other helped them do well this season.

As a team Heritage finished with nine points to tie in ninth place at state. Mathis and Blaylock were the only Eagles to place. In No. 2 doubles, Alie Bleu and Gabriella Guerra won their first round match against Arapahoe’s Kelly Ervine and Margaux Lips 6-1, 6-3, but they were beat in the quarterfinals by the eventual champions from Pine Creek. Bleu and Guerra were unable to get past Fruita-Monument to place in the consolation bracket. Also qualifying from the Eagles was junior Sophie Vukovich in No. 1 singles, junior Kristen Kempton in No. 2 singles and senior Sophia Guerra in No. 3 singles.

Including Ervine and Margaux, Arapahoe was able to take a full boat to state this year. The Warriors finished with six points, tied for 12th place.

No. 1 singles Sarah Ray had a three-set victory over Fruita-Monument’s Lindsey Henke, but she fell to eventual fourth-placer Erin Sanders of Ponderosa in the quarterfinals 6-2, 6-3.

Freshman Elly Fryberger also won her opening bout of No. 2 singles in three sets, against Pine Creek’s Julia Hubbard; however, Fairview’s Lisa Han knocked her out of title contention in the second round. Fryberger split sets against the Knight but still couldn’t pick the win.

Saryn Mooney, a sophomore, had a tiebreaker in the first set of her opening match of No. 3 singles. Having won that and a 6-2 second set, she went on to lose against Cherry Creek’s Keiko Kasho in the quarters. In the consolation round, Mooney was sent home after a three-set loss to Heritage’s Sophia Guerra. Guerra was later beat by her counterpart from Fort Collins.

Alyssa Gafvert and Teresa Yeh won their opening No. 3 doubles match against Boulder in three sets, but Cherry Creek sent them into the consolation bracket. In two sets, the Arapahoe duo beat Air Academy 6-3, 6-2 but were sent home for the season after a 6-1, 6-1 loss to Chatfield.

In 4-dubs, Katie Rafaghello and Jessica Warner won their opening match in three sets over Grandview but were later knocked out of title contention by Ponderosa 6-4, 6-2.

Also qualifying for the Warriors this year was Laura McDonald and Rachel Severson in No. 1 doubles.


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