All-Tribune Boys Tennis: Player of the Year Andy Nguyen - East Valley Tribune: VarsityXtra

All-Tribune Boys Tennis: Player of the Year Andy Nguyen

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Posted: Sunday, May 25, 2008 8:00 am | Updated: 9:52 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

It’s not often that rivals gather on each others’ behalf, but in the case of Phoenix Mountain Pointe tennis player Andy Nguyen, a welcome boost of support came from those he had recently vanquished.

Nguyen, playing for his second straight 5A-I state singles title, faced Tucson Salpointe’s Cameron Ahari in a 2008 championship match that turned into a 3 1/2 hour battle.

Not only were Nguyen’s teammates cheering, players from Tempe Corona del Sol and Phoenix Desert Vista also joined in. Although Nguyen lost in three sets, the experience gave him a renewed passion for his sport.

“It felt really good to have that kind of support,” Nguyen, a junior, said. “I have good friends at Corona and Desert Vista. When we’re not playing each other, we have a lot of fun.”

The end of the high school season means little to Nguyen, who is ranked first in the USTA’s Southwest Section in the boys 18-and-under division.

“I play six days a week, and on my rest day it’s really hard not to go do something,” he said, “I feel like I’ve got to be doing something.”

Mountain Pointe coach Dan Ray has seen that attitude.

“He is a role model because of the high level of intensity that he brings to the practices and matches daily,” Ray said. “He doesn’t mess around with his tennis. He takes it very seriously. His discipline and maturity are off the charts.”

That dedication continues in the classroom, where Nguyen was at presstime ranked in the top 10 academically at Mountain Pointe (graduation was May 22).

Although Nguyen is a top player, team is important, too.

“This season was one of rebuilding for us,” he said. “I worked hard to try and help our team try and repeat a run at a state title. I talk to our freshmen and mention little things here and there, mostly about having fun, and also things they can do to improve.”

After falling in this year’s title match, Nguyen has something to shoot for, too.

MEMORABLE MOMENTS FROM THE 2008 SEASON

Smooth transition: Several players made the transition to a stronger division fairly well this season. 2007 5A-II champion Emily Harris made the quarterfinals in 5A-I, Seton Catholic’s Joe Juliano, the 3A champion in 2007, made the quarterfinals in 4A-II, and Seton Catholic’s Eleanor Beatty, a 3A runner-up in 2007, made the quarterfinals in a tough 4A-II bracket.

Improving: Corona del Sol’s Garret Dunn saw his game improve considerably in 2008, including an upset over Andy Nguyen during the regular season. Dunn would go on to lose a close 6-4, 7-6 battle with Phoenix North Canyon’s Joseph Adewumi in the consolation bracket.

Different look: The tennis landscape will change significantly next year as a large group of seniors move on, including Chaparral’s Drake Kakar and Andy Botsch, and Marcos de Niza’s Sean O’Grady."

"Class 5A Boys All-Tribune first team

Name School Yr. Comment

Andy Nguyen Mountain Pointe Jr. 5A-I boys state runner-up, 2007 champ

Sean O’Grady Marcos de Niza Sr. 5A-II boys state champion for second straight year

Garrett Dunn Corona del Sol Jr. 5A-I semifinalist

Ahmad Saleem & Jacob Barnaby Desert Vista So./Sr. Duo finished second in doubles in 5A-I

James Carr & Calvin Burns Marcos de Niza So./Sr. 5A-II runner-up doubles team

Player of the Year: Andy Nguyen, Mountain Pointe

Coach of the Year: Wayne Brimley, Phoenix Desert Vista. Thunder finished 2nd in state in his first year as coach.

Class 5A Boys All-Tribune second team

Name School Yr. Comment

Eric Chalmers & Chris Salvatore Brophy So./So. Duo made semifinals in 5A-I

Jacob Spizman Dobson So. Cracked top eight at state

Nelson Divall Desert Mountain Fr. Quarterfinalist in 5A-II

Spencer Hing Horizon Sr. 5A-II semifinalist

Class 4A-1A Boys All-Tribune first team

Name School Yr. Comment

Drake Kakar Chaparral Sr. 4A-I state champion after two previous close calls

Andy Botsch Chaparral Sr. Finished third in 4A-I

Daniel Plasencia Arcadia Sr. 4A-II state singles champ

Ben Slawsby & Matthew Akin Notre Dame Jr./So. 4A-II doubles champions

Todd Jenkins & Peter Brown Phx. Country Day Sr./Fr. 2A/3A dbls. state champs

Player of the Year: Drake Kakar, Chaparral

Coach of the Year: Oscar Varela, Notre Dame. Team lost only three matches en route to a 4A-II state title

Class 4A-1A Boys All-Tribune second team

Name School Yr. Comment

Taylor Hoffman & Andrew Chen Chaparral Jr./So. Doubles team finished third in 4A-I

Joe Juliano Seton Catholic Sr. Made 4A-II quarterfinals after moving up from 3A this year

Sam Berger & Max Frenkel Arcadia Sr./Sr. 4A-II doubles runners-up

Patrick Taylor Phx. Country Day Jr. 2A/3A state runner-up"

“Even when I’m not playing well, I’m always hungry for more,” he said.

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