Region 9 girls tennis recap: 4 teams start season with sweeps

Pine View at Hurricane, Hurricane, Utah, Aug. 25, 2020 | Photo courtesy of Dow Christenson, Pine View High Athletics, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — The regular season Region 9 high school girls tennis got under way last Tuesday, with all four matches ending in 5-0 sweeps.

Desert Hills, Snow Canyon and Crimson Cliffs all won at home, while Pine View defeated Hurricane on the road.

The Desert Hills vs. Dixie matchup featured two new coaches who happen to be related. Todd Staheli is back at the helm at Dixie High, while his daughter Afton Balderree has taken over as the new Desert Hills head coach.

Balderree succeeds David Smith, who retired earlier this year after a storied and successful coaching career.

Staheli said his daughter had been an assistant coach alongside him for several years, but they had never before coached against each other. 

Dixie head tennis coach Todd Staheli gives his daughter and Desert Hills head coach Afton Balderree a fist bump before their first time coaching against each other, Dixie at Desert Hills, St. George, Utah, Aug. 25, 2020 | Photo courtesy of Todd Staheli, Dixie High Athletics, St. George News

“It was fun coaching against Afton,” he said. “We’re both competitive. We fought hard, but it was fun being able to coach against her.”

Staheli described last week’s match as “hard-fought.”

“We were ready to play, but they were ready to play too. They just kind of got the best of us that day,” he said.

In first singles, Kenzie Telford of Desert Hills defeated Dixie’s Sally Fraser, 6-1, 6-2. In second singles, the Thunder’s Tia Turley beat Kylie Kezos, 1-6, 6-3, 6-0.

Staheli said it was Kezos’s first time back on the court after breaking her back during the tennis season last year.

“This is her first match back,” Staheli said. “She hadn’t played much tennis in between, but she’s improving every every time she plays.”

In other action, the Thunder’s Malika Maxwell defeated Sara Harr in No. 3 singles, 6-4, 6-0. Both Desert Hills doubles teams also beat Dixie’s in straight sets.

Meanwhile, at Hurricane, the Pine View Panthers completed a sweep of the Tigers, winning all matches in straight sets. In No. 1 singles, Ava Blake defeated Megan Lee, 6-1, 6-1. In second singles, Kayli Hirschi defeated Emily Dobson, 6-1, 6-0. In third singles, Brionne Dinsmore defeated Sadie Hatch, 6-2, 6-2.

In first doubles, Pine View’s Emma Farish and Kylie Blaser defeated Hurricane’s Isis Freiburg and Chantelle Pearson 6-1, 6-3. And in No. 2 doubles, Gretta Poulsen and Alisa Harrison defeated Camille McDaniel and Chelsea Jocelyn 7-6 (7), 6-3.

The other two home teams that posted 5-0 sweeps last Tuesday were the Snow Canyon Warriors, who defeated Cedar, and the Crimson Cliffs Mustangs, who swept Canyon View.

Each of the eight Region 9 teams is scheduled to play the other seven teams once between Aug. 25 and Sept. 24, inclusive. Matches are scheduled at 4 p.m. each Tuesday and Thursday during that time frame, with the exception of Sept. 8 and Sept. 17, when none are scheduled.

This week’s schedule is as follows:

  • Tuesday – Pine View plays at Canyon View, Hurricane is at Dixie, Snow Canyon is at Desert Hills and Crimson Cliffs is at Cedar.
  • Thursday – Dixie is at Pine View, Hurricane is at Snow Canyon, Cedar is at Canyon View and Desert Hills is at Crimson Cliffs.

The default starting time for varsity matches is 4 p.m.

Following the regular season, the Region 9 tournament will be held Oct. 2-3 at the Tonaquint Tennis Center in St. George. The 4A state tournament will be held the following weekend, Oct. 9-10, at Liberty Park in Salt Lake City.

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Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2020, all rights reserved.

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