Kofa No. 1 singles player Michelle Manon continued her dominating season with a 6-0, 6-0 win over Yuma High's Anqelica Urquidez, but the Kings couldn't hold off the Criminals, losing 6-3.
Last Thursday, Kofa defeated Yuma High 5-4 with the match coming all the way down to No. 3 doubles.
“We're in every match this year, as opposed to last year where we weren't in a lot of matches,” Yuma High coach Michael Moreno said.
Yuma High returned five out of its six singles players, all who came back as juniors with a new level of dedication.
“It's just the experience,” Moreno said, “working with them in the summer and putting in the time on the court. You have to put in the time on the court in order to see improvement. I think they realize now that you actually have to play during the off season, you have to play during the season and train all-year around.”
Yuma High's No. 2 Nicole Pelroy, No. 3 Juli Terhark, No. 4 Andrea Urquidez and No. 5 Jeni Johnson all won their respective singles matches while Pelroy and Terhark won No. 2 doubles and Clarissa Monroy and Johnson won No. 3 doubles.
In Manon's shutout win, she surrendered only six points to Urquidez.
“She keeps improving,” Kofa coach Danilo Montialli said. “It was another match where she played excellent. She served well and dominated from the first game to the end. She just has to keep it up, she cannot get out of rhythm because she's got to keep playing and put the match away like she did today.”
Manon's serve was working particularly well in the match, only double-faulting once. Manon uses four different kinds of serves, mixing and matching depending on how her opponent is playing.
“If I want her to be more on the sides, I do a slice,” Manon said. “If I want to be in the middle, I do a flat, when I want them to go back, I do a top spin and then my kick-out serve is just for an illusion serve that bounces and goes the opposite way.”
That match took less than 45 minutes with Manon never losing focus.
“I only keep my eyes on the ball,” she said with a laugh. “When she's bouncing it or tossing it in the air, I'm just, like, ‘Where's the ball, follow the ball,' like a little dog.”
With the Crim Smash fast approaching, Manon is eager to defend her title. She defeated Gila Ridge's Katlyn Jones 6-1, 6-1 in last year's final to win her first Crim Smash championship.
“I'm so excited,” she said. “For my preparation, I did a lot of things and I'm ready to win it again. My confidence is up a little more and I'm more focused on my games. Sophomore year I was looking at my mom or my coach, but now I'm looking at neither of them.”