The Iowa City West and Cedar Rapids Xavier boys’ tennis teams captured state championships earlier this week.
On Saturday, it’s the girls’ turn.
West is the defending Class 2A champion. Coach Amie Villarini’s squad is seeded second behind Ames in the four-team bracket at the Prairie Ridge Sports Complex in Ankeny.
Xavier, which finished fourth in Class 1A in 2018, also is seeded No. 2 behind six-time defending state champion Waterloo Columbus. The 1A tournament will be held at the Johnston Middle School Complex.
All semifinal matches begin at 8:30 a.m. with consolation and finals set for one hour following the completion of the semifinals.
The Women of Troy open with No. 3 seed West Des Moines Dowling. Ames meets Cedar Falls in the other semifinal.
Villarini wasn’t surprised to see her team seeded No. 2 despite going through the regular season unbeaten in duals, as did Ames. West edged the Little Cyclones, 5-4, for the title last season with a healthy Emma Koch leading the way. Koch missed the entire season with a knee injury suffered last fall.
“Ames returned everyone from last year and we are down Emma,” Villarini said. “They think we aren’t as strong and the rankings had us at No. 2 all season long anyway.”
West is led by junior Jessica Moonjely and sophomore Audrey Koch. They finished second in the state doubles tournament and have been strong singles players as well.
Villarini said West can’t look ahead to a possible rematch with Ames.
“We have to get past Dowling first,” she said. “Dowling’s only loss was in a very close match to Ames when they were down their No. 3 player, Sofia Sackett. Who knows, Dowling might have defeated Ames if they had their full lineup.
“I feel like all teams on any given day are all capable of being state champions. It’s going to be quite a battle, much like last year.”
Xavier’s 1A semifinal opponent is Shenandoah. Columbus and Dubuque Wahlert meet in the other semifinal.
“There is absolutely a danger in looking ahead to Columbus or Wahlert,” said Xavier Coach Matt Foxhoven. “Last year we were in the same spot, and unfortunately lost in the semifinals, so hopefully the four girls that were on the team last year have that in the back of their heads.”
If the Saints meet Columbus for the title, they may have a mental edge after the No. 1 doubles team of Emily Jasper and Miyako Coffey upset Columbus’ Taylor Hogan and Elysse Trost, 6-4, 6-1 to claim the state doubles title on Thursday. Columbus edged the Saints, 5-4, in a regular-season dual.
“If we are fortunate enough to advance to the finals, and it is against Columbus, we will need to do a few things to make something special happen,” Foxhoven said. “We will need to conserve our energy from the semifinals.
“Columbus is historically a very strong doubles school. Going into doubles tied 3-3 or down 4-2 makes it difficult.”