With the regional tennis tournament fast approaching, the Montezuma-Cortez High School girls’ tennis team appears to be peaking at the right time.
Competing in Delta, April 25-26, the Panthers played some of their finest tennis of the season during a team victory over Glenwood Springs and losses to Hotchkiss and Cedaredge.
Opening play against Hotchkiss on April 25, the Panthers lost 5-2, but enjoyed victories by No. 2 doubles players Tori Calliham and Laurel Chappell and No. 3 doubles players Paige Bailey and Sera King.
Soon after their match against Hotchkiss, the Panthers played Cedaredge, narrowly losing 4-3 in a highly competitive match.
Panthers’ winners included No. 1 doubles players Jaci Veach and Skye Cole, No. 2 doubles players Calliham and Chappell and No. 3 doubles players Paige Bailey and Sera King.
“Overall, the teams were pretty close,” said Wood of the Cedaredge match. “I thought we played very well.”
Wrapping up their weekend on April 26 against Glenwood Springs, the Panthers scored an impressive 4-3 victory.
Winning matches for the Panthers were No. 2 singles player Raquel Lucero, No. 2 doubles players Calliham and Chappell, No. 3 doubles players Bailey and King and No. 4 doubles players Natasha Gordon and Ashley Moore.
Especially impressive were Calliham and Chappell, a group that Wood believes could enjoy postseason success.
“They have a four-match winning streak going,” said Wood. They have the most points going into regionals. They are going to be a force to deal with.”
To qualify for state, Panthers’ singles players or doubles teams must place in the top-two at their regional tournament, which will take place in Grand Junction May 1-2.
While a top-two regional placing will to be difficult based on the fact that eleven schools will attend the tournament, Wood is confident that his team will perform well.
“We’ve improved so much this year,” said Wood. “The team has worked very hard. We’re excited for this weekend and I’m confident that we’ll play well.”