KINGMAN – The Lee Williams High School boys tennis team put in countless hours of work this season to reach its goal of the Division II State Tournament.
The No. 16-seed Vols won’t have it easy though, as a trip to top-seeded Catalina Foothills looms at 3 p.m. Wednesday.
“They’re going to be a tough team – their AIA ranking shows that,” said Lee Williams head coach Adam Cvetich. “You don’t become a 13-0 team, beating the teams that they’re beating, without working hard. It’s going to be a great challenge for us, and I know that it’s one that the boys and I look forward to.”
The Vols definitely have their work cut out for them as the Falcons have tallied 9-0 sweeps in nine of their 13 dual matches this season.
Lee Williams only notched four sweeps this year, but it did end the regular season on a five-match winning streak.
The most instrumental victory during that stretch was a 5-4 win over Gila Ridge on April 16, where the Vols had to rally back from a 2-4 deficit after playing singles first. Lee Williams needed to sweep doubles play to keep its undefeated section streak alive.
“Two of our doubles teams started down by a good bit, but they were both able to come back and win it,” Cvetich said. “The last match playing went into a tiebreaker – first to seven, win by two. It ended up going until we took it 11-9. It was so intense. Everyone was watching – so focused.”
The victory put the Vols in a great spot as it dealt the Hawks their only loss in region play. With a win over Yuma later in the day, Lee Williams would clinch the region and that’s exactly what it did with a 6-3 victory.
“There was screaming, cheering, fist pumps, and Kade (Juelfs) tried to pour his water jug on me,” Cvetich said. “If he hadn’t been smiling so big, he would’ve caught me. I’ve been telling them the whole year, ‘I don’t care if you’re up 5-0 or down 0-5, you play to win, take it one point at a time and fight.’”
That perseverance paid off for the Vols and now they’ll look to upset the top team in Division II. Cvetich knows the team’s outlook is different now and that should go a long way.
“We had the initial excitement of beating Gila Ridge and kind of had the realization of what that meant for us as a team,” Cvetich said. “I think a good bit of them almost saw it as something unreachable. So once we were really getting close to it, the attitude really changed and became a ‘Why not just beat them?’ attitude. We’re trying to just stay focused every practice – brush up on all of our techniques and fundamentals so we can be as ready as possible.”