Aside from the Kiwanis High School Invitational in the preseason, the Nogales High Lady Apaches tennis team hasn’t been tested much so far in 2012.
They blanked their third straight opponent, 9-0, Tuesday when visiting Sahuarita came to town, but this time it took a little bit of sweat—at least for two Lady Apache singles players.
Nogales No. 5 Alexis Kramer was down 4-2 in her first set but battled back to beat Lexus Torres 7-5, 6-2.
No. 3 Helena Meyer was in a bigger 4-1 hole to Kalle Smith, but she, too, hung on to win the first set in a 7-2 tiebreaker before handily nabbing the second set 6-2 in the longest match of the day.
“I just let myself go down,” she said, “and once it finally hit me that I was down, I just had to play my game no matter what. I just had to win.”
That’s exactly what she did, regardless of the windy conditions of the day.
“Basically, you can’t lob it (on day’s like today),” Meyer said. “You have to put it away or it might be a mistake. Mentally and physically, you have to be strong.”
Strong is exactly how Nogales’ No. 1 and 2 players—Cristina Oropeza and Lucia Suarez—played on the night. Oropeza topped Alexis Reyes 6-0, 6-2; while Suarez coasted to a 6-0, 6-0 win herself.
“I’m really excited about the season,” Suarez said. “I didn’t join soccer so I could practice all year and it’s paying off. I’ve always had the strokes, I’ve just been working on my consistency.”
That’s the trademark of Oropeza’s game, as well, and she didn’t disappoint Tuesday despite dropping two games in the second set.
“Right now my goal is to keep consistent,” she said, “just keep hitting spin and getting it in deep. That’s what I’m working on now.”
Sahuarita, on the other hand, is just looking to be more competitive with the higher level teams.
“It’s a confidence thing,” Lady Mustangs coach Amanda Forslund said. “Mentally, coming into it, I don’t know if they really believed that they had a chance to begin with—and when they went up they realized, oh, I do have a chance.
“It’s going to be fun to play them in the second half of the season now that the girls believe and realize, hey, we can be in it,” she added. “I think we just have to focus on the positive—and what they did well—and just build off that.”
That exactly what Nogales skipper Kerri Muñoz is looking to do as her squad expects to go deep into the state tournament again this season.
“We really need to work on serving,” Muñoz said. “I think they lost a lot of points with their serve. I saw a lot of double faults today—and, of course, the wind has a lot to do with it, but that’s when you have to battle.”
In singles, Nogales’ Lizette Lopez beat Melisa Guevara 6-1, 6-3 and Nogales’ Gaby Belisario beat Carolina Garcia 6-0, 6-0. In doubles, Suarez-Meyer beat Fort-Smith 8-2; Oropeza-Lopez beat Reyes-Guevara 8-2 and Kramer-Belisario beat Torres-Gracia 8-2.
The win upped Nogales to 3-0 and dropped Sahuarita to 2-1. The Lady Apaches are now slated to host Desert View Wednesday at 3:30 p.m.