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Making a Statement: No. 3 Badgers brush aside No. 14 Nighthawks in playoff opener
Prep Girls Tennis

Prescott’s Riley Smith hits a return shot as the Badgers play Ironwood Ridge in the first round of the state team tennis tournament Tuesday, April 23, 2019, in Prescott. (Les Stukenberg/Courier)

Prescott’s Riley Smith hits a return shot as the Badgers play Ironwood Ridge in the first round of the state team tennis tournament Tuesday, April 23, 2019, in Prescott. (Les Stukenberg/Courier)

PRESCOTT — There couldn’t have been a more ideal start to Prescott’s postseason campaign as the Badgers made quick work of Ironwood Ridge for a 5-0 victory in the first round of the Division II state playoffs on Tuesday.

Coming in hot and at the No. 3 spot in the Division II rankings, the Badgers had not lost a game since March 19 and were not about to let that change against a lower-seeded opponent. The Nighthawks, were having an adequate season themselves, finishing third in Section VII and winning three of five matches in the month of April.

However, Prescott wasted no time in Tuesday’s match, steamrolling its way through singles play, which was something head coach Julio Marroquin foresaw happening.

“We were kind of expecting this type of performance at this level of competition so I don’t think there were any surprises,” Marroquin said. “I’m glad that we won 5-0, just kind of get it done and prepare for the next round.”

The Badgers’ tremendous effort to jump out to a 5-0 lead in singles action eliminated the need to play doubles and even finish out the remaining match between No. 4 Abby Stoeker and Isa Russell. The closest match-up of the afternoon belonged to No. 2 Sierra McDonald, who outlasted Athena Honebrick 6-4, 7-6.

Meanwhile, No. 1 Ava Andrews defeated Lauren Anthony 6-0, 6-1, No. 3 Heidi Madsen defeated Julia Rogan 6-0, 6-1, No. 5 Riley Smith defeated Alyse Utley 6-0, 6-0, and No. 6 Ellie Fenderson defeated Mahi Saksena 6-3, 6-1. Not only did this swift victory preserve some valuable energy for Prescott, but it also makes a big statement to the remaining competition.

“We’re so excited and we think we’re going to play Thunderbird next,” Madsen said. “And how this works is that once you get five points, they stop (the match). So in the computers it’s going to show up as 5-0 and that sends a message to the other teams saying that we’re pretty good.”

UP NEXT

Prescott marches on to the quarterfinals where the Badgers will host No. 6 Thunderbird (13-1, 8-0 Section I) on Tuesday at 3 p.m. The Chiefs also won 5-0 in their playoff opener against Seton Catholic Prep.

Aaron Valdez is a sports reporter for The Daily Courier of Prescott News Network. Follow him on Twitter at @Valaaron_94. Email avaldez@prescottaz.com or call 928-445-3333, ext. 2031.

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