Back-to-back: Colts champs again

Posted on 06 May 2012 by Lawrence Foster of the Roswell Daily Record

l.foster@rdrnews.com


The NMMI boys tennis team poses with its state championship trophy and banner after winning the NMAA Class 1A/3A state championship, Saturday. (Lawrence Foster Photo)

ALBUQUERQUE — One of the pleasures of watching sports is that, on any given day, a player or team can beat any another player or team.

Knowing that the outcome is up in the air is part of what makes sports such an attraction.

On the other hand, watching a dominant team or player, like Tiger Woods (pre-fire hydrant, of course), dominate has its draws as well.

The NMMI boys tennis team falls into both categories — in a sense.

 

The Colts fall into the former category because there is always the question of just how bad will they beat an opponent. The outcome is pretty clear from the start of each match, but fans never know how dominating each match will be, so that keeps them watching.

NMMI fits into the latter category because, after beating Sandia Prep in the semifinals and Bosque School in the finals to clinch its second-consecutive NMAA Class 1A/3A state team championship on Saturday at Albuquerque Academy, the Colts haven’t lost a match in two years.

Any way you slice it, the Colts are just plain fun to watch and one of the most entertaining matches of the finals was at first doubles where NMMI’s Jose Gonzalez and Federico Sanchez squared off with Bosque’s Adam Laredo and Andrew Patten.

Patten opened the match with serve, but NMMI was able to break him to take a 1-0 lead.

Gonzalez had the first service game for NMMI and his kick serve forced a weak return by Laredo and Sanchez turned that into an easy winner at the net to give the Colts a 15-0 lead.

Gonzalez pushed the lead to 30-0 with an ace and, after a winner by Patten, Gonzalez gave the Colts a two-point advantage with an overhead winner from no man’s land. Not to be outdone, Sanchez won the final point of the game with a fast-hands get at the net to give NMMI a 2-0 lead.

NMMI took four of the next seven games to take the first set, 6-3.

In the second set, neither team could build a lead of more than a game and the set came down to a tiebreaker.

The Colts took the first point on a unique play.

Gonzalez had serve to start the tiebreaker and his first serve forced a weak return by Patten. Patten’s return was high and short, but Gonzalez whiffed on an an overhead as the ball crossed the net. He was able to recover, however, and after the bounce he hit an overhead winner to give NMMI a 1-0 lead.

A double fault by Patten and a deep lob-winner by Gonzalez gave the Colts a 3-0 lead.

Bosque responded by winning the next four points to take a 4-3 lead. NMMI tied it at four when Gonzalez hit another kick-serve that set up an easy winner at the net for Sanchez.

The Colts reclaimed the lead with a winner down the alley from Sanchez, but Patten responded with a second-serve winner to tie it at five.

Each team had a lead over the next six points, but neither team could put the set away.

Tied at eight, Sanchez gave NMMI another lead with an amazing backhand overhead and an error by Laredo gave NMMI the match.

Other doubles winners for the Colts were Jerry Estrella and Jorge Garza (second; 6-2, 7-6 {7-5} over Rand Briggs and Hilliam Katzman) and Josh Shure and Gavin Lynch (third; 6-0, 6-0 over Tim Patten and Juille Wagner).

NMMI’s two singles victories came from Luis Zaragoza (sixth; 6-1, 6-0 over Tim Patten) and Lynch (third; 6-2, 6-1 over Andrew Patten), whose win was the clincher for the Colts.

Colt coach Jim Kelly said that he felt relief after the victory.

“Probably relief (is what I felt),” he said. “I didn’t expect any different outcome. I was sitting up (in the stands) when doubles was playing (against Bosque) and I was thinking that everyone was breezing through. Lynch and Shure were on and off the court quickly as always, then I found out Estrella and Garza are down 2-5 and Sanchez and Gonzalez are down 3-4 and now I have to get up and start coaching, instead of watching the show.”

Kelly added that despite not losing in two years, his team remains humble.

“These guys are tremendous, you know that,” he said. “Nobody can touch them. I preach about being humble to these guys. When you go out, day after day and tournament after tournament, and you just take names, they still remain humble.

“They are awesome. In today’s terms, they are off the hook.”

In the Colts’ first match of the day, they knocked off Sandia Prep, 5-1.

As usual, the match got started with doubles play and Shure and Lynch were the first ones off the court after a 6-1, 6-0 victory over Alex Moller and Ben Lauer at second doubles.

The Colts’ other doubles win came from Luis Moncada and Mauricio Moncada. The NMMI duo beat Dmitri Granberg and Logan Goodfellow, 7-5, 6-1 at third doubles.

In singles action, Estrella (fourth; 6-0, 6-1 over Lauer), Tom Rios (fifth; 6-0, 6-1 over Granberg) and Zaragoza (sixth; 6-0, 6-1 over Goodfellow) earned victories for the Colts.

NMMI boys tennis coach Jim Kelly, center, is doused with water after the Colts secured their second straight NMAA Class 1A/3A state team championship at Albuquerque Academy, Saturday. (Lawrence Foster Photo)


Freddy Sanchez hits a shot during the Colts’ in the state championship match, Saturday. (Lawrence Foster Photo)

Posted in Colt Tennis


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