5A state tennis: Lady Scorps claim back-to-back state titles

Karl Schneider The Daily Times
The Daily Times

FARMINGTON — The Farmington girls tennis team came into the 2015 season with one goal in mind — to repeat as the state champion.

And that's what the top-seeded Lady Scorps did, knocking off No. 2 Albuquerque Academy 5-3 at the 5A state championships in Albuquerque on Saturday.

"It's exciting," FHS girls head coach Pat McGrath said. "For any chance to win, we had to win four singles matches, and Liza Briody-Pavlik played the match of her life to get that fourth win."

Danielle Nguyen, Riley Coleman and Arin Coleman all won their singles matches to set up the drama of Briody-Pavlik's match.

"I actually played the same girl at the Academy tournament and lost," Briody-Pavlik said. "I left feeling I could beat her the next time. I worked hard in practice to fix the mistakes I made in that match and came in with a lot of confidence."

While Briody-Pavlik picked up the key win in singles, the No. 3 doubles team of Arin Coleman and Danielle Nguyen sealed the win for the Lady Scorps.

Coleman and Nguyen won the first set 6-1. But knowing they were one set away from bringing home the blue trophy, the nerves began to set in, and the duo fell behind 3-0 in the second set.

"They were so nervous it was almost impossible to get the ball over the net," McGrath said.

But Coleman and Nguyen battled back, forcing a tiebreaker. They fell behind early, but the duo battled back to get the 9-7 victory and seal the state title.

Coleman, a freshman, will be back for the Lady Scorps next season to try to make it three straight for FHS. But for Briody-Pavlik, Nguyen and Sydney Schumacher, it was the last time they'd be on the court representing the Lady Scorps.

"They're on cloud nine right now," McGrath said of the senior trio. "They've been out there working hard in practice all year. A lot of the time when I'm not there, it's those girls that lead the team. They pick everyone up and get everyone working."

The title makes it two blue trophies in a row — and six in the last seven years — for FHS.

This year's title was also a rematch of last year's finals, when FHS got past Academy by the same score of 5-3.

"It's great," Briody-Pavlik said. "I'm really excited to have been able to play my best and been able to do it with this great team and group of girls. I couldn't be happier."

After knocking off Los Alamos 5-0 in the semifinals, the Farmington boys just couldn't overcome the mighty Albuquerque Academy team, losing in the 5A title match 5-0.

"We truly had a great, great team, and not just in wins and losses. We had great people on the team this year," head coach Larry Larson said. "They have been outstanding representatives of Farmington High School and the city of Farmington."

The Scorpions didn't lose a match in the semifinals against Los Alamos, but it was a different story against Academy. The No. 1 doubles match was the only one that was truly competitive, according to Larson.

The Piedra Vista boys team fell in the semifinals 5-0 to No. 1 Albuquerque Academy.

"They probably played the best matches of the season. It was a great performance," PV boys coach Jenny Baker said. "I think they improved through the year. They came together and got stronger. They did everything I asked of them, and I couldn't be more proud."

The PV girls lost in the quarterfinals Friday night to Academy 7-2.

"Although we lost, we had our best result against Academy in quite a few years," PV girls coach Alison Goff said. "It's the first time I can remember coming out of the doubles round ahead 2-1."

Goff praised the play of doubles teams Samantha Begay and Alyssa Baker, and Ana Montelongo-Hernandez and Josie Howard. The two doubles teams won their matches in straight sets, and Goff said it was a fitting end to a good season.

Sports reporter Jake Newby contributed to this report.

Karl Schneider is the sports editor for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4648 and kschneider@daily-times.com. Follow him @karltschneider on Twitter.