Category Archives: Colt & Lady Colt Tennis

Colt Tennis Opens 2017 Season with Sweeping Success

NMMI’s Sebastian Aguirre with the volley at the net in No. 3 doubles.

NMMI’s Sebastian Aguirre with the volley at the net in No. 3 doubles.

NMMI Sports Press

Winning shot down the doubles alley on a service return in No. 3 doubles by NMMI's Eli Ward.

Winning shot down the doubles alley on a service return in No. 3 doubles by NMMI’s Eli Ward.

The 2017 version of the NMMI Colt boys and girls tennis teams are off to a rousing start to their campaigns for state titles in both divisions. Coach Will Cavin is blessed with depth, a typical staple on the boy’s side, but this year the girls are enjoying having a full roster for a change as well.

First serve attempt by NMMI's Ana Ruja during No. 3 doubles.

First serve attempt by NMMI’s Ana Ruja during No. 3 doubles.

Cavin added, “Eliana Ward and Ana Ruja are two new cadets that will help us have a chance to compete for state this year with Megan Lynch returning as one of the best players in the state. Jin Xiu Dong moved to #4 from last year’s two spot showing our depth. She will still pair up with Megan in doubles as they enjoy playing together and have fun.” Adding to the depth will be Flor Toscano, Sofia Brassea and Savannah Lee. Lynch, Brassea, and Lee are all seniors while Dong and Toscano are juniors and the two new players are both sophomores.

On the boy’s side, the perennial contenders will once again be in the chase as they lost one senior from last year’s team and once their number one returns after spring break in junior Farid Yunes. Francisco Saracho is slotted in at number two with Luis Fontes at three, local products Allen DeGroot at four and the lone senior, Spencer Treat as a solid five hole. Battling out for the sixth spot will be Jose Robles, Diego Perez and Sebastian Aguirre.

Megan Lynch stretches for the volley return in No. 1 doubles.

Megan Lynch stretches for the volley return in No. 1 doubles.

Both squads opened the spring season in the Goddard tournament February 10 and 11 sweeping through all comers. Between the two squads, only two matches were dropped the entire weekend. Both were by the girls, one to Goddard in the five hole and one to St. Mikes in the fourth spot. The ladies beat St. Mikes 8-1 and Santa Fe 6-0 on Friday and then on Saturday disposed of Roswell 6-0 and Goddard 7-1 with the final doubles called due to darkness and the score at 5-5.

Overhand volley during No. 1 doubles by NMMI's Luis Fontes.

Overhand volley during No. 1 doubles by NMMI’s Luis Fontes.

The boys were flawless in winning over St.Mikes 9-0, Santa Fe 6-0 and Goddard 9-0. The Colts didn’t play Roswell High boys as they had not fielded a team. Closest match for the boys came in #2 doubles when DeGroot and Treat edged past Kennon and J. Melendez of Goddard 6-3, 6-2. Almost all of the other matches were in the 6-0 or 6-1 variety.

Goddard and NMMI paired up once again on Tuesday the 21st in a dual match but with some similar results as the Colt boys rolled to a 9-0 win and the girls matched them with their own 7-0 victory. Saracho playing in the number 1 spot took care of Leo Melendez 6-1, 6-1 while Fontes disposed of Chris Brooks 6-0, 6-0 as did DeGroot with Marc Nava by the same tally. Number four Treat beat Nico Elwell 6-0, 6-1, Robles won 6-0, 6-0 in fifth singles and Aquirre battled with Tanner Crow to a tune of a 6-3, 6-1 victory in the sixth spot.

Serve in No. 2 doubles by Spencer Treat.

Serve in No. 2 doubles by Spencer Treat.

For the Lady Colts, Megan Lynch lived up to her billing with a dominating 6-0, 6-0 victory over Lizzie Latimer. Ruja took care of Tati Villa 6-2, 6-1 while Ward battled with Rue Jones taking a 6-1, 6-3 decision. Jin Xiu Dong won 6-3, 6-0 in the fourth singles and in the fifth Flor Toscano prevailed in a tough 6-2, 7-5 win over Breanna Meeks. Goddard didn’t have a number six player for today cutting the girls short in that singles spot and in number three doubles.

In doubles, Lady Colts Lynch and Dong took the last match of the day 6-1, 6-1 while Ruja and Ward beat Jones and Cordero 6-1, 6-0.  The Colts number one doubles team had the toughest match as Saracho and Fontes edged Leo Melendez and Nava 6-4, 6-4. DeGroot and Treat slipped past Brooks and Elwell 6-1, 6-0 and Robles and Aguirre beat Velasquez and Kennon 6-0, 6-2.

Backhand off a quick serve by NMMI's Allen DeGroot, No. 2 doubles.

Backhand off a quick serve by NMMI’s Allen DeGroot, No. 2 doubles.

The Colt teams will be back in action in their own tournament March 3rd and 4th. Goddard will join the Roswell High tournament that weekend, as well as playing in the Alamogordo tourney this coming weekend.

Baseline lob by Jin Xiu Dong in No. 1 doubles.

Baseline lob by Jin Xiu Dong in No. 1 doubles.

Serve by Francisco Saracho, No. 1 doubles.

Serve by Francisco Saracho, No. 1 doubles.

Jose Robles, baseline forehand in No. 3 doubles.

Jose Robles, baseline forehand in No. 3 doubles.

Colt netters fall in semifinals but look to the future

Alan DeGroot was one of only two Colts who got a singles win vs. Bosque Prep.

Allen DeGroot was one of only two Colts who got a singles win vs. Bosque Prep.

Karen Boehler
NMMI Sports Press

Felix Higuera stretches for the ball during his No. 6 singles match. He won that match easily, 6-1, 6-3.

Felix Higuera stretches for the ball during his No. 6 singles match. He won that match easily, 6-1, 6-3.

ALBUQUERQUE — The wind wasn’t as strong at Albuquerque Academy Saturday on the final day of the state tennis team tournament, but Bosque Prep was stronger than NMMI, as the Colts fell to the No. 1 seed 5-2 to end their season in the semi-final round.

“It was a good match and Bosque’s a good team,” said coach Will Cavin. “Like we talked last night, if we come out and play with our A game, we should have beat Bosque.”

But the Colts didn’t quite have that A game early, losing all three doubles matches.

Farid Yunes gets a return against the Bosque No. 1 player. Because the Bobcats won the team match before Yunes' singles was finished, he didn't get to complete the match.

Farid Yunes gets a return against the Bosque No. 1 player. Because the Bobcats won the team match before Yunes’ singles was finished, he didn’t get to complete the match.

“When you go in the hole three matches in doubles, and two of those three matches, obviously, from the scores, could have gone either way, we would have been playing our singles matches and finishing out.”

No. 1 doubles Farid Yunes and Francisco Saracho took the match to three sets, but ultimately fell 6-1, 5-7, 6-4. No. 3 doubles Felix Higuera and Angel Reyes fell 6-4, 7-6(9-7).

Still, despite the deficit, Cavin was thinking positive as his singles teams started strong.

Allen DeGroot, No. 5, and Higuera, No. 6, each got wins; No. 2 Saracho was leading and No. 1 Yunes was coming back in a second set.

But the Bobcats got wins at three and four, giving them the five victories needed to end the match early.

No. 2 Saracho also didn't get to finish his match because of state tournament rules.

No. 2 Francisco Saracho also didn’t get to finish his match because of state tournament rules.

“We were up in a couple of singles matches, but once you lose five, it’s over once you start the semifinals,” Cavin said. “So we didn’t get to finish out our one and two, but I think if one or two of the doubles (had won), we’d be right in the mix of playing in the championship game. I can’t take anything away from Bosque. They have a great team. It’s going to be a really interesting championship match between them and Robertson.”

And while the Colts lost, they impressed some watchers. Bosque coach Klaus Weber told Cavin he could see the Institute being a powerhouse the next few years. But more than that, he praised the Colts for their ethics.

Luis FOntes make the one-hand back-handed return in his singles match Saturday.

Luis FOntes make the one-hand back-handed return in his singles match Saturday.

“He said our players played the most honest matches of tennis he’s seen the last couple of years,” Cavin said. “Tennis is one of those sports where you get to call in and out and call the serves and everything, and he said he was very impressed with our players and their honesty on and off the court. That’s a lot to say for the New Mexico Military Institute and these kids. It’s just awesome.”

And Cavin doesn’t disagree that this group could build another tennis dynasty.

“I’m proud of the kids,” he said. “They’re young. We only have one senior on the team and these other teams are going to be graduating at least two or three of their top players from each one of their teams. So come next year, as long as we keep together, I think the program’s going to build.”

Bosque Prep 5, NMMI 2
Singles

No. 1, Farid Yunes, NMMI, vs. Will Katzman, BP, not finished
No. 2, Francisco Saracho, NMMI, vs. Joshua Hood, BP, not finished
No. 3, Neil Katzman, BP, def. Luis Fontes, NMMI, 6-2, 6-1
No. 4, Gus Voelker, BP, def. Jose Salazer, NMMI, 6-3, 6-3
No. 5, Allen DeGroot, NMMI, def. Cameron Wall, BP, 6-2, 6-0
No. 6, Felix Higuera, NMMI, def. Thomas Donahue, BP, 6-1, 6-3

Doubles
No. 1, W. Katzman/N. Katzman, BP, def. Yunes/Saracho, NMMI, 6-1, 5-7, 6-4
No. 2, Hood/Voelker, BP, def. Fontes/Salazar, NMMI, 6-3, 6-2
No. 3, Wall/Luke Croesmann, BP, def. Higuera/Angel Reyes, NMMI, 6-4, 7-6(9-7)

Colt tennis advances to team state semifinals

Farid Yunes and Francisco discuss strategy during their doubles match vs. Santa Fe Prep Friday.

Farid Yunes and Francisco discuss strategy during their doubles match vs. Santa Fe Prep Friday.

Karen Boehler
NMMI Sports Press

Farid Yunes gets the back-handed return.

Farid Yunes gets the back-handed return.

ALBUQUERQUE — The tennis teams at the state tournament in Albuquerque Friday had more to battle than just the opposing squads. The winds gusting across the Albuquerque Academy courts made it difficult for anyone to judge their shots, especially lobs that were caught and blown back.

“With that wind blowing the way it was today, it made it a tough day to play tennis, that’s for sure,” said NMMI coach Will Cavin.

But the Colts managed to beat both the winds and Santa Fe Prep, advancing to Saturday’s semifinal round with a 6-3 victory over the Griffins.

Francisco Saracho waits for the ball.

Francisco Saracho waits for the ball.

Each side got one fairly quick doubles win, with Farid Yunes and Francisco Saracho winning 6-0, 7-5 and Luis Fontes and Jose Salazar falling 6-1, 6-4.

The No. 3 doubles team of Felix Higuera and Angel Reyes had an easy Set 1 win, 6-3, but then battled to a tie before winning the tiebreaker 6-3.

And lengthy matches were the rule of the day.

While Yunes downed Harsh Bhundiya — the Griffin who gave Saracho fits in the singles tourney — easily at No. 1, Saracho (No. 2), Fontes (No. 3) and No. 6 Higuera all went to three sets — with Higuera falling in a pro-set super tiebreaker after NMMI had clinched the title — while Allen DeGroot had to hold on for a 7-5 victory in his second set.

Angel Reyes waits to make a hit.

Angel Reyes waits to make a hit.

Besides Higuera, Jose Salazar was the only other singles loss for the Institute, and Cavin said it was a nail-biting day.

“I was on pins and needles hoping we’d get to five wins,” he said.

And the winds didn’t help any.

“You got some gusts,” the coach said. “There were a lot of balls that would be hit, you’d hit a lob shot and the next thing you know it’s blowing back at you five feet. People were losing points because they couldn’t get back to hit them.”

Luis Fontes stretches for the ball.

Luis Fontes stretches to make the hit.

The only team that seemed to have an easy day of it was Las Vegas Robertson, which won 9-0 over Sandia Prep. Bosque Prep battled to a 6-3 victory over  Taos, and St. Michael’s won 7-2 over Mesilla Valley.

All that could make for an exciting final day, Cavin said.

“I think the tournament’s going to be really interesting tomorrow. I think you have four teams, that any one of those could be the state champion,” he said. “There’s no team that you can look at right now that you can say, ‘Oh, yeah. Those guys are going to win.’”

Jose Salazar battles in doubles action.

Jose Salazar battles in doubles action.

The Colts will face off against Bosque beginning at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, and Cavin is confident his team will do well.

“They’re No. 1 for a reason, but watching them play today and watching them play Wednesday and Thursday, we can beat them.”

 

NMMI 6, Santa Fe Prep 3
Singles

No. 1, Farid Yunes, NMMI, def. Harsh Bhundiya, SFP, 6-1, 6-0
No. 2, Francisco Saracho, NMMI, def. Joe Mathews, SFP, 1-6, 6-1, 6-6 (7-5)
No. 3, Luis Fontes, NMMI, def. Drake Merians, SFP, 6-1, 2-6, 6-2
No. 4, Chris Schild, SFP, def. Jose Salazar, NMMI, def. 6-4, 6-1
No. 5, Allen DeGroot, NMMI, def. Cole Gartner, SFP, 6-3, 7-5
No. 6, Tate Birk, SFP, def. Felix Higuera, NMMI, 2-6, 6-6 (7-5), 10-8

Doubles
No. 1, Yunes/Saracho, NMMI, def. Bhundiya/Merians, SFP, 6-0, 7-5
No. 2, Mathews.Schild, SFP, def. Fontes/Salazar, NMMI, 6-1, 6-4
No. 3, Higuera/Angel Reyes, NMMI, def. Gartner/Birk, SFP, 6-3, 6-6 (6-3)

Felix Higuera waits to make the return.

Felix Higuera waits to make the return.

Yunes take third at state in tennis singles

Farid Yunes shows off the third-place medal he won at the AAAA state singles tennis tournament.

Farid Yunes shows off the third-place medal he won at the AAAA state singles tennis tournament.

Karen Boehler
NMMI Sports Press

Farid Yunes gets ready to backhand the ball during his third-place game Thursday in Albuquerque.

Farid Yunes gets ready to backhand the ball during his third-place game Thursday in Albuquerque.

ALBUQUERQUE — Colt netter Farid Yunes didn’t let a little thing like an injury stop him from taking home some hardware at the AAAA state singles tennis tournament. The sophomore battled through half of his semifinal match and all of the third-place game with the injury, still managing to earn a third-place medal.

“I can’t tell you how proud I am of him,” said NMMI coach Will Cavin.

No. 3 seed Yunes started the day with a tough match vs. No. 6 Andres Garcia from Robertson.

The Colt made it look easy with a 6-2 win in the first set, but then fell 5-7 in the second before winning the third 6-1 on a hot Albuquerque afternoon.

That long match pushed the semifinal match between Yunes and St. Michael’s Horseman Will McDermott, the No. 2 seed, back to 3 p.m. to give the players a two-hour break between matches. And as he did in the second set vs. Garcia, Yunes quickly fell behind and lost 6-1.

But he was closing the gap until, with the second match at 4-3 in favor of the Horseman, play stopped as Yunes limped off the court, clearly in pain. The match was suspended while a trainer was called and the Colt was taped up, but while he could have called it quits, he continued, finally falling 6-4.

“You can’t take anything away from McDermott,” Cavin said. “He was the No. 2 seed for a reason. Yunes battled with him. First set was kind of rough, but he was coming back in the second when he was injured and I give him a lot of credit for taping up and wanting to finish up the set.

“That just shows what a competitor he is. Sophomore vs. a senior. It is what it is. So we’ll look forward to the team part of this deal.”

At that point, Cavin wasn’t even sure if Yunes wanted to play for third place or rest the injury. But play he did, and again started slow, dropping behind 4-1 to Santa Fe Prep Griffin David Atkin.

But this time, it didn’t take the Colt long to reverse the score, winning 6-4, 6-1. With Cavin encouraging him from the sidelines and his teammates watching from the back of the court, Yunes only seemed to get stronger as the match went on, clearly dominating his opponent and forcing Atkin to make mistakes.

“It was hard. So hard,” the sophomore said after the game. “It really hurt during the last game. Now, it feels much better. It’s still hurting, but it’s much better.”

Asked if that was because he won, he just smiled. And how did he feel mentally?

“Like a champion,” Yunes said. “Because I battled the whole game and finally I won.”

“He battled,” Cavin agreed. “Went down 4-1 in the first set and came back and won it 6-4 and won the second set 6-1. I know he’s going to be sore in the morning, but hopefully we’ll get that worked out and get him something to wear when we play Santa Fe Prep tomorrow.

Saracho 3 5/5Yunes wasn’t the only Colt who played Thursday.

Seven seed Francisco Saracho opened the day with a 6-1, 6-2 loss to McDermott. The NMMI sophomore was coming off a marathon three-set victory Wednesday night, and played hard, but couldn’t overcome the senior.

“He had a long night, and he played McDermott before Farid did,” Cavin said. “He still held his own against Will, and Will’s a good player.

Despite the injury to their No. 1 player, the Colts open the team tournament at 3 p.m. vs. Santa Fe Prep at Albuquerque Academy. And all the Institute players agree with Yunes that there’s one goal.

“Win state like a champ.”

Saracho battles long and hard to advance at state tennis

Saracho 1

Francisco Saracho with the baseline two-hander during his first round match in the Class AAAA State Boys Singles Championship Tournament, being until this week at the Jerry Cline Tennis Complex in Albuquerque, NM.

Karen Boehler
NMMI Sports Press

Higuera and Reyes

Angel Reyes with the serve while teammate Felix Higuera readys himself at the net for a possible return. The Colt doubles team lost their opening match of the State doubles tournament, but will get another chance on Friday and Saturday during the team championships.

ALBUQUERQUE — It certainly wasn’t easy, but NMMI’s No. 2 singles player, Francisco Saracho, outlasted Santa Fe Prep’s No. 1 in the opening round of the state AAAA tennis tournament, winning a marathon 0-6, 7-6, 6-4 match.

“Great comeback,” said Colt coach Will Cavin. “He just hung in there. Kind of lost it in the first set then came back and got focused. It was a great match by both players.”

Coaches from other teams were stopping by to watch the match, as the NMMI players on the sidelines tried to match the enthusiasm of the large crowd of a Griffin supporters.

Francisco Saracho serve, also during his singles match.

Francisco Saracho serve, also during his singles match.

Asked what his thoughts were after being shut out in the opening set, the sophomore sounded positive.

“I thought if he can win 6-0, I can also win 6-0. And I got those two sets.” he said.

So what did you do that made the difference?

“I started playing more consistent,” Saracho said. “I got the ball toward the net at a slower pace but still efficient.”

“It just proves you don’t take anything for granted,” Cavin said. “It was a great match. He played well and just held on.”

No. 7 seed Saracho will take on No. 2 Will McDermott, who drew a bye, at 11 a.m. Thursday in the quarterfinal round. Teammate Farid Yunes, No. 3, plays his first match at the same time vs. No. 6 Andres Garcia from Las Vegas Robertson.

Angel Reyes returns an opponent serve.

Angel Reyes returns an opponent serve.

In the opening doubles match, senior Felix Higuera and junior Angel Reyes weren’t even supposed to be competing at state, but the No. 3 NMMI doubles team upset their No. 2 teammates at the district tournament. That gave them an unseeded berth in a match vs. the No. 7 seed from Bosque Prep.

And for a while, it looked they they might make a comeback as well.

“Kind of the same thing,” Cavin said. “Came back in the second set. We were playing Bosque’s No. 2s, so the kids battled, they fought, they competed.”

And despite coming back in that second set to force a tie breaker, the Colts fell 6-2, 6-6 (7-3.)

Felix Higuera with the touch shot during a return in doubles play.

Felix Higuera with the touch shot during a return in doubles play.

“We played good,” Higuera said. “I think so. For the first moments of the game we were so nervous, we were kind of stressed. I mean, this is the state tournament, right? We’re three’s against No. 2s. So it was kind of like the adrenalin taking over. But then we said, ‘OK. Let’s stop for a second and think about it. We can do it.’ And we started battling, battling, battling until we got there.”

“But then we made some mistakes,” Reyes said. Looking ahead to Friday’s team tournament, he added “We can do it. We have two games left at least to play. So we can do this.”

And Cavin is feeling good as the tournament moves into Day 2.

“We learned a lot today, and that’s what I think the first two rounds are about, to get a chance to see some of the players you haven’t seen,” he said. “Everybody’s here for a reason, so you’ve just got to go out and play and compete and don’t leave it on the court.”