Girls Tennis: Regis Jesuit's regional title streak snapped, but six of seven make state

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DENVER | The Regis Jesuit girls tennis team had its streak of regional championships snapped Friday, but the Raiders are still loaded for the upcoming Class 4A state tournament.

The Raiders had won the past three titles at the Region 1 tournament at Colorado Academy, but finished four points off the pace set by the hosts this season despite three singles players and three doubles teams earning spots in the May 10-12 4A state tournament at Pueblo City Park.

Regis Jesuit went 3-3 in regional matches at the two-day tournament, getting victories from freshman No. 2 singles player Haley Chirico, the No. 1 doubles duo of Kerbi Brisch and Lilly Iacino and the No. 4 tandem of Erica Dodson and Anna Finch.

Nos. 1, 3 singles players Shelby Cerkovnik and Amanda Lilly and the No. 3 doubles team of Jordan Stemper and Rachel Williams finished as runners-up at their respective positions and all made state, with Lilly winning a three-set playback in the last match of the day to earn her spot.

In her first regional tournament, Chirico fought nerves that contributed to dropping the first set 6-1 against Colorado Academy’s Kate Chenney, a senior with state experience. But the precocious freshman fought back to earn a split at 6-3 and continued to play with confidence in a tight third set, constantly frustrating Chenney with solid returns and a plan when coming to the net. The result was a 1-6, 6-3, 6-4 victory that will put her in good position in the draw at state.

Brisch and Iacino cruised to the regional championship at No. 1 doubles, losing a total of just four games in three matches. The Raiders duo cruised past Fiona Bell and Jill Howarth of Alexander Dawson, 6-1, 6-3, in a brisk final. The victory puts Brisch in the state tournament for the fourth straight season and gives her a chance to win a third consecutive 4A state championship at No. 1 doubles. She’s won the past two seasons with graduated Megan Harrison and now tries with Iacino, who has a new partner herself after three years with graduated Alex Vossmer and placed third at No. 3 doubles last season.

The No. 4 doubles team of Dodson and Finch had a moderately challenging trip through the tournament, but finished it off with a 6-4, 6-2 victory over Eva Bray and Olivia Caldwell-Nepveux of Colorado Academy.

Cerkovnik, a state finalist as a freshman in 2010, made it back to state after missing it last season in a tough No. 1 singles regional group that was the same this season: Colorado Academy’s Jessika Mozia, Alexander Dawson’s Caroline Hobbs and Kennedy’s Della Phan. Cerkovnik took care of Hobbs in a semifinal rematch from 2011 and battled Mozia in the first set before losing 11-9 in the tiebreaker, then dropped the second set 6-0.

A tense 6-4, 7-6 (3) loss to CA’s boisterous Paige Klump in the No. 3 singles championship match forced Lilly into a playback against Alexander Dawson’s Leah Perczak, who promptly took advantage of early unforced errors to win the first set 6-1. Lilly rebounded, however, taking the last two sets 6-4, 6-2 to give Regis Jesuit a full compliment of singles players at state.

Stemper and Williams fell to Caitlin Barron and Sara Esfahani of Colorado Academy, 6-1, 6-4, in the No. 3 doubles final, but avoided a playback by virtue of a win over third-place Evergreen in the semifinals.

The lone Regis Jesuit team to miss out on state was the No. 2 doubles team of Nicole Nemechek and Abby Hegarty, who were stopped by Evergreen’s Emilee Gregor and Emily Greene in the semifinals, but rebounded to place third with a 6-1, 6-3 victory over Alexander Dawson’s Rachel Clair and Nicole Finan.

Reach Sports Editor Courtney Oakes at [email protected] or 303-750-7555

CLASS 4A REGION 1 TOURNAMENT

At Colorado Academy, May 2-4

Team scores: Colorado Academy 81, Regis Jesuit 77, Alexander Dawson x, Evergreen x, Kennedy 11, Arvada 6, Thomas Jefferson 6, Denver West 2, Jefferson 2, Denver North 0

Championship matches

No. 1 singles: Jessika Mozia (Colorado Academy) def. Shelby Cerkovnik (Regis Jesuit), 7-6 (9), 6-0

No. 2 singles: Haley Chirico (Regis Jesuit) def. Kate Chenney (Colorado Academy), 1-6, 6-3, 6-4

No. 3 singles: Paige Klump (Colorado Academy) def. Amanda Lilly (Regis Jesuit), 6-4, 7-6 (3)

No. 1 doubles: Kerbi Brisch/Lilly Iacino (Regis Jesuit) def. Fiona Bell/Jill Howarth (Alexander Dawson), 6-1, 6-3

No. 2 doubles: Kate Fisher/Kyla Sherap (Colorado Academy) def. Emilee Gregor/Emily Greene (Evergreen), 6-4, 6-1

No. 3 doubles: Caitlin Barron/Sara Esfahani (Colorado Academy) def. Jordan Stemper/Rachel Williams (Regis Jesuit), 6-1, 6-4

No. 4 doubles: Erica Dodson/Anna Finch (Regis Jesuit) def. Eva Bray/Olivia Caldwell-Nepveux (Colorado Academy), 6-4, 6-2

Third-place matches

No. 1 singles: Caroline Hobbs (Alexander Dawson) def. Della Phan (Kennedy), 6-4, 6-0

No. 2 singles: Katherine Hardy (Evergreen) def. Briannah Wilson (Alexander Dawson), 2-6, 7-6 (3), 6-4

No. 3 singles: Leah Perczak (Alexander Dawson) def. Kristin Shirk (Evergreen), 4-6, 6-3, 6-0

No. 1 doubles: Caroline Gebhart/Anna Schwartz (Colorado Academy) def. Genevieve DeGrandchamp/Carly Booth (Evergreen), 6-2, 6-2

No. 2 doubles: Nicole Nemechek/Abby Hegarty (Regis Jesuit) def. Rachel Clair/Nicole Finan (Alexander Dawson), 6-1, 6-3

No. 3 doubles: Madi Slack/Erika Chado (Evergreen) def. A. Beiser/Cassie Ellingson (Thomas Jefferson), 6-1, 6-0

No. 4 doubles: Rachel Chado/Madison Rogers (Evergreen) vs. Lulu McRoberts/Faith Rankin (Alexander Dawson)

Playbacks (for state berths)

No. 3 singles: Amanda Lilly (Regis Jesuit) def. Leah Perczak (Alexander Dawson), 1-6, 6-4, 6-2