FARMINGTON — After falling just short of a championship a season ago, the Lady Scorpions are bring the 4A tennis title back to Farmington High.
No. 1 FHS won its fifth title in six years with a 5-3 victory against No. 2 Albuquerque Academy at the Jerry Cline Complex in Albuquerque.
"They all played well. We didn't have a superstar, so everybody had to pull their own," FHS girls head coach Pat McGrath said.
In singles play, the Lady Scorpions were expecting victories at the No. 4, 5 and 6 singles, and McGrath figured the top three singles matches would go Academy's way.
"We felt we had four, five and six, and didn't really have a chance at one, two and three," he said. "But Caroline Moss upset their girl at No. 3, and that took all the pressure off us. She played a very smart match and kept the ball in play."
Moss knocked off Academy's Stacy Pollack 6-2, 6-3 to help FHS open a 4-2 lead after singles play.
"It feels good, and, as a senior, it's a great way to end," Moss said.
Moss and partner Payton Sandoval earned the title winning point with a 6-0, 6-1 victory.
"We just had to stay consistent and play our game, and we worked together as a team," Sandoval said. "You just have to remind yourself of the goal and what it takes to achieve."
Moss said as the doubles match was winding down and the team neared the title, she had a difficult time keeping her emotions in check.
"Payton was the calming influence out there, just telling me to relax," Moss said.
Sandoval (7-5, 6-3), Liza Briody-Pavlik (6-3, 6-2) and Riley Coleman (6-3, 6-1) each earned victories in singles play to get the Lady Scorps the title.
Briody-Pavlik said last season's second-place finish was a motivating factor for the team this season and helped them to reclaim the title.
"I think the main difference was experience," she said. "We're a bit older and knew what was coming."
Danielle Nguyen and Sydney Schumacher dropped matches at No. 1 and No. 2 singles to Academy but picked up vital wins early in the tournament to allow FHS to advance.
The Lady Scorps picked up a quarterfinal win against No. 9 St. Pius X 8-1 and then got a little revenge on No. 4 Los Alamos, which defeated FHS for the title last year, with a 5-2 victory in the semifinals.
"This just reaffirms everything we had been working for all season," Moss said.
The boys team finished as the 4A runner up for the fourth straight season.
No. 1 Academy earned its 12th straight championship with a 5-0 win against the No. 2 Scorpions.
"We were just emotionally drained after the semis," FHS boys head coach Larry Larson said. "We battled and gave it everything we could."
FHS advanced to the finals with victories against No. 7 Los Alamos (8-1) in the quarterfinals and No. 3 Centennial (5-2) in the semifinals.