Prep Sports

Another Iowa City West girls' tennis doubles team looks to claim state title

Audrey Koch and Jessica Moonjely are No. 1 seed in Class 2A

Iowa City West’s Audrey Koch returns the ball as she and Jessica Moonjely face Cedar Rapids Washington’s Liberty Wickham and Josie Norris in a second round double match during a regional tennis tournament at West High in Iowa City on Wednesday, May 15, 2019. (Cliff Jette/The Gazette)
Iowa City West’s Audrey Koch returns the ball as she and Jessica Moonjely face Cedar Rapids Washington’s Liberty Wickham and Josie Norris in a second round double match during a regional tennis tournament at West High in Iowa City on Wednesday, May 15, 2019. (Cliff Jette/The Gazette)

Three years, three different No. 1 doubles teams and, possibly, three state titles.

Iowa City West’s Audrey Koch and Jessica Moonjely have an opportunity to continue the program’s doubles dominance at the Class 2A singles and doubles tournament, set for Wednesday and Thursday in Bettendorf. In 2017, Emma Koch and Abby Jans won the championship. Last year, Emma combined with sister Audrey to take the title.

This year, Audrey Koch and Moonjely have rolled through the season unbeaten and are seeded No. 1. They will play Clinton’s Mackenzie Lange and Kylie Housenga in the first round.

“I’m thrilled they received the No. 1 seed,” said West Coach Amie Villarini. “There are a few solid teams who are unseeded that we have to watch out for. The motto for us is that we have to respect all teams and players.”

West’s No. 2 doubles team of Vivian Mitchell and Caroline Mescardo received a favorable draw. They will meet another unseeded team, Kayla Nutt and Lauren Hird of Pleasant Valley.

West’s Caroline Chandler will be in the singles draw. The sophomore won the regional title after being seeded fourth in that event. She is unseeded at state and opens against another unseeded opponent, Jamie Knox of Cedar Falls. Chandler defeated Knox during the regular season.

“We think we have a good draw,” Villarini said. “It’s nice to know the player you are playing as you can mentally prepare and strategize how to play them again.”

The draw wasn’t as kind to the two Cedar Rapids players. Kennedy’s Reya Sands will meet top-seed Cari Naanep of Johnson in the first round. Jefferson’s Emma Lassen drew No. 2-seed Arundee Fernando of Ames.

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In Class 1A, Cedar Rapids Xavier’s top doubles team of Emily Jasper and Miyako Coffey got the No. 2 seed for the tournament at the University of Iowa Tennis Center in Iowa City. They open with Fairfield’s Tess Paton and Destiny Gridley. Their lone loss against 1A competition came in a third-set tiebreaker to Taylor Hogan and Elysse Trost of Waterloo Columbus, the top seed for this tournament.

“I am pleased with the draw for Miyako and Emily, they had a good regular season and picked up some really solid 1A wins during the districts and individual qualifying,” said Xavier Coach Matt Foxhoven. “That being said, they play a solid team from Fairfield to kick it off, and if they are fortunate enough to get past that they would play a really good team from Pella Christian or Columbus. They will need to be prepared for great competition right away.

“Miyako and Emily getting the 2 seed is a testament to what they did during the regular season. They faced quality opponents, seeing mostly 2A competition and were fortunate to pick up many quality wins.”

Xavier also qualified sisters Sarah Abu Nameh and Maddie Abu Nameh in the doubles field. They will open with Columbus’ Hogan and Trost.

“Sarah and Maddie unfortunately drew the No. 1 seed right off the bat, so they will have an uphill battle,” Foxhoven said. “They have played solid competition all year, so they will be prepared.”

The only area player in the singles draw is Decorah’s Mara Frieden. She will play Spirit Lake-Okoboji’s Casie Barba in the opening round.

Play is scheduled to begin in both classes at 10 a.m. Wednesday and 9:30 a.m. Thursday. Championship matches are scheduled for 11:30 a.m. Thursday.

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