Scottsdale’s Notre Dame Prep girls’ tennis team won the AIA Division II State Championship, Saturday, May 7, at Paseo Racquet Club in Glendale.
Their first state championship since their five-year reign from 2007 to 2011, the NDP team faced their nemesis, Catalina Foothills High School from Tucson, a team they lost to in the state championship two years ago.
“Catalina Foothills is a great team,” Shelley Dinges, Notre Dame Prep head coach said. “I knew this would be as close a match as you can have.”
With NDP winning 5-4, it came down to a tie-breaker in no. 1 doubles, where junior, Alexandra “Lexi” Lehman and senior, Alyssa Heid, toppled the top-seed Catalina Foothills duo in a come-from-behind victory.
“This was a true team win. Every player did her part,” said Ms. Dinges, who was recently named U.S. Tennis Association Central Arizona Coach of the Year for her contributions to her athletes and the sport.
The top teammates were so focused on their match that they didn’t know they held the key to the championship; they didn’t know how their fellow teammates fared.
“Lexi and I were playing so well. We were loose and in control, so we just gave the match everything we had,” Ms. Heid said. “To be honest I didn’t know it was down to us until we were tied at seven all.”
That final game seemed to go on-and-on, with onlookers from both sides, anticipating an outcome. In the end, the Saints prevailed with a final score of 9-7.
“I am still on cloud nine and playing the moment over and over again in my head because it is such a dream come true,” Ms. Heid said.
Within seconds of winning, their teammates surrounded the girls, holding the trophy high.
“It was really nice to bring the state championship back to Notre Dame Prep after so many years,” Ms. Lehman said.
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