Vail Christian girls tennis defeats Peak to Peak in thrilling team state championship quarterfinal match |

Vail Christian girls tennis defeats Peak to Peak in thrilling team state championship quarterfinal match

Match came down to the final No. 4 doubles match

The No. 5-seeded Vail Christian girls tennis team defeated No. 4 Peak to Peak 4-3 in Friday's team state quarterfinals. The Saints will face No. 1 Holy Family on May 9.
Vail Christian/Courtesy photo

Freshmen usually aren’t known for coming through in the clutch. Two ninth-graders did exactly that, however, for the Vail Christian girls tennis team on Friday.

The No. 5 Saints took down No. 4 Peak to Peak in Lafayette by a score of 4-3 in the 3A team state quarterfinals, with the No. 4 doubles team, comprised of freshmen Heidi Iverson and Sofia Elalayi clinching the match with a 4-6, 6-0, 6-4 win over Kate Miller and Krystyna Ostaszewski.

“With the support of our teammates we were able to pull through,” Elalayli said.

After the Saints dropped all three singles matches, they flipped the script in doubles. The No. 1 team of Juliet Studness and Anna Baker got things started with a 6-1, 6-0 win over Sydney Parkinson and Ranye Ezenekwe. In the No. 2 doubles match, Aria Webster and Kamryn Mitchell defeated Molly Kolachov and Maya Nataranjan 7-5, 6-2. Then, seniors Jenna Elalayi and Sofie Brunner tied things up with a 6-4, 2-6, 6-1 No. 3 doubles win.

At that point, both teams surrounded the fence for the final, decisive match.

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“I was just focusing on getting the ball over the net,” Heidi Iverson said of the pressure-packed moment.

“The atmosphere was electric. I didn’t know what was going to happen,” added coach J.D. Webster. “I was praying. Heidi Iverson and Sofia Elalayli battled and we were able to come out with a huge victory.”

The win sends the Saints, who are 11-0 on the season and have won 86 of their 98 matches this year, to Broomfield for the team state semifinals on May 9. They’ll face No. 1 Holy Family (12-1, 88 wins out of 112 matches).

“The girls were tested today,” said varsity coach Erica Studness. “They had to really raise the level of their games. They were true competitors and pulled out a great win.”

Before their date with Holy Family, the Saints will compete at the 3A Region 8 individual tournament, where they swept every division in 2022.

In previous seasons, individual and team state champions were awarded at the end of a three-day ‘state’ tournament made up of individual player brackets at each position. In 2023, teams from across 3A, 4A and 5A moved to a new format. Now, only individual winners will be crowned in Denver (5A), Pueblo (4A) and Colorado Springs (3A) from May 11-13, while the team race will go through a 16-team bracket in each classification, with schools facing off in a dual format.

Universal Tennis Rating (UTR), strength of league, overall record, strength of competition, head-to head competition and common opponents was used to seed each team bracket, according to the tennis bulletin. The Saints opened with a 5-2 first-round victory over Lutheran on Wednesday. If they win on May 9, they would advance to the team state championship in Denver City Park on May 16.

“Mountain teams can be overlooked,” said Homestead Tennis pro Eric Meyer. “But we proved today that we are we are one of the elite teams in the state.”

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