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Cougars sweep courts

It was more a coronation than a competition.

Coronado’s boys tennis team swept the first two rounds against Green Valley to open a 12-0 lead and cruised to a 16-2 victory to win its sixth straight Sunrise Region crown Friday at Darling Tennis Center.

Junior Mitchell Smith and freshmen Sam Cohen and Cassell King each went 2-0 in singles for the Cougars (13-1), who advanced to the Class 4A state semifinals Oct. 21 in Reno.

Jon Berberich and Christian Pate teamed to go 3-0 in doubles and Xavier Smith and Kai Carl were 2-0 for Coronado, which beat the Gators 15-3 in the regular season.

“It was expected,” Smith said of beating Green Valley again. “Every one of our players is good. We just have a well-rounded team. Our doubles works well together and our singles, too.”

Coronado coach Luther Bohanan said a big key to the team’s success has been the superb play of Cohen and King.

“That’s huge having two freshmen come in and contribute right away,” he said.

Smith and Cohen lost only one game apiece. They each said their main focus is on winning the tennis program’s first boys state title.

“We’ve been really close to winning state the past two years,” Cohen said. “We’ve got a few new players, (King) and myself, so we’re hoping to do it this year.”

The Gators (11-3), led by Caleb Camp and Trevor Bukovi, lost to only two teams this year: Centennial and Coronado.

“(Coronado was) our toughest competition, besides Centennial,” Green Valley first-year coach Sean Emmerich said. “We had a great season. I couldn’t ask for a better season.”

GIRLS

■ Coronado 12, Liberty 6 — A year after the Cougars (12-2) had a six-year reign as Sunrise Region champions ended by the Patriots (11-3), Coronado avenged that loss in dominant fashion.

“It’s always good to come back and get a little revenge and play well, because they have a very good team,” said Bohanan, who coached the boys and girls teams to state.

Senior Chrissy Uriarte and freshmen Gabby Smith and Paris Reese each went 3-0 in singles and didn’t lose a game for the Cougars, who advanced to the state semifinals Oct. 21 in Reno.

While his singles players played near perfect, Bohanan said the key was a 2-1 performance by the doubles team of Sarah Pate and Nicole Gardner.

“They stepped up and got two crucial points for us,” Bohanan said. “My girls competed tonight.”

The Patriots clipped the Cougars 10-9 in the regular season when Coronado was without Uriarte, who was diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome last season and hasn’t played high school tennis since her freshman year.

“It means a lot because I really want a state ring,” she said. “I’m just having fun this year.”

Danae Ingwaldson and Kassidy Mangual were 3-0 in doubles for Liberty.

“This season was unbelievable. It was really more impressive to me than last year because I didn’t have the talent I had last year,” coach Kih Gourrier said. “As hard as it is to feel loss, right now I hope my girls understand they really overachieved.”

Contact reporter Todd Dewey at tdewey@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0354.

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