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No. 3 Prescott silences Thunderbird, advances to state semifinals
Prep Tennis

Prescott’s Sierra McDonald hits a return April 23. The Badgers beat No. 6 Thunderbird 5-3 in the second round of the Division II state playoffs Tuesday, April 30, 2019, in Prescott. (Les Stukenberg/Courier, file)

Prescott’s Sierra McDonald hits a return April 23. The Badgers beat No. 6 Thunderbird 5-3 in the second round of the Division II state playoffs Tuesday, April 30, 2019, in Prescott. (Les Stukenberg/Courier, file)

PRESCOTT — With the match knotted at the end of singles play, it was a cohesive effort in doubles that proved to be the deciding factor as Prescott trumped No. 6 Thunderbird 5-3 in the Division II state quarterfinals Tuesday afternoon.

The Badgers knew very well their battle with the Chiefs was going to require them to be on top of their game from the get-go. Considering how they throttled Ironwood Ridge in the first round, it was interesting to see if the Badgers would be able to kick it into high gear against a much together adversary.

And despite the windy conditions, Prescott did well to avoid folding under the pressure in any sort of capacity.

“These girls hung in there,” Prescott coach Julio Marroquin said. “They’ve been in these situations before competition-wise and also condition-wise so I think they did well.”

In singles action, the Badgers and Chiefs jostled for the upper hand but they ultimately played to a 3-3 stalemate ahead of doubles play. In addition to No. 5 Geneva Graber’s loss to Mya Domask, Prescott’s top seeds struggled as No. 1 Ava Andrews fell to Deondra Bacchus 0-6, 4-6 while No. 2 Sierra McDonald came up short against Quinne Talbot 5-7, 1-6.

However, No. 4 Abby Stoecker defeated Abby Webber 6-1, 6-0 to capture Prescott’s first victory in singles, which greatly fostered plenty of confidence in the rest of her teammates. No. 3 Heidi Madsen also picked up a huge win, defeating Allie Simes 6-4, 6-2 while No. 6 Riley Smith rounded it out with a 6-2, 6-1 win over Madison Poston.

“It’s all about the teamwork and just cheering each other on at every court and just really going out there and being aggressive” McDonald said on the Badger’s effort to keep the match within reach.

The Badgers’ chemistry and camaraderie paid dividends in doubles play as they quickly took control of the match. Prescott officially punched their ticket to the semifinals when the duos of McDonald/Stoecker and Smith/Ellie Fenderson each took their respective match by an 8-4 margin, which, in turn, activated the mercy rule on the remaining Andrews/Madsen match.

“This team is a really close-knit team,” Marroquin said. “You can see that these girls like each other. It’s fun hanging out with them and you can tell that when they’re not playing, they are pulling for each other.”

UP NEXT

Prescott’s dream season will continue as it heads to the state semifinals against No. 2 Catalina Foothills (13-1, 6-0 Section VII) on Friday. The match will be played on neutral ground at the Paseo Racquet Center with a noon start time. The winner will play the winner of No. 1 Notre Dame Prep and No. 4 Salpointe Catholic in the finals on Saturday at 2 p.m.

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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