Based on strong performance up to this point in the season, Phoenix Xavier badminton coach Barb Chura had reason to believe her team would play well on Saturday. What she didn’t predict, however, is that she’d have four of the last six players standing at the Dobson Invitational.
Xavier junior Vianett Mena defeated Xavier senior Colleen Mohn 11-4, 10-11, 11-7 in the singles finals.
“They work hard. They’ve earned this position,” Chura said. “These tournaments are great. You’ve got 24 schools and 144 players, and to have two of your own come out on top, that’s very exciting.”
Xavier’s Whitney Fongemie and Zoe Cavnar-Lewandowski reached the final match of the doubles, but lost to Phoenix Mountain Pointe’s Rudi O’Keefe Zelman and Ashley Dreas, 15-8, 12-15, 15-12.
“You think that they’re going to do really well based on the year and how well we’re doing,” Chura said, “but to think that you’d have four out of six players playing in the finals, that’s amazing.”
Mena said her match with Mohn was unique, being in a competitive setting as compared to facing each other in practice.
“It was a lot different than a practice because there was a little more pressure now,” Mena said.
“We both had to try a lot harder and we both seemed to have improved a lot during this game.”
O’Keefe Zelman and Dreas controlled much of their championship match, winning the first game easily and leading in the second before Fongemie and Cavnar-Lewandowski made a decisive comeback. The teams exchanged points in the third game before the Mountain Pointe duo pulled away late.
“We just push each other,” O’Keefe Zelman said. “We help each other a lot out on the court. I don’t want to let Ashley down.”