NMMI Sports Press
ALBUQUERQUE — It certainly wasn’t easy, but NMMI’s No. 2 singles player, Francisco Saracho, outlasted Santa Fe Prep’s No. 1 in the opening round of the state AAAA tennis tournament, winning a marathon 0-6, 7-6, 6-4 match.
“Great comeback,” said Colt coach Will Cavin. “He just hung in there. Kind of lost it in the first set then came back and got focused. It was a great match by both players.”
Coaches from other teams were stopping by to watch the match, as the NMMI players on the sidelines tried to match the enthusiasm of the large crowd of a Griffin supporters.
Asked what his thoughts were after being shut out in the opening set, the sophomore sounded positive.
“I thought if he can win 6-0, I can also win 6-0. And I got those two sets.” he said.
So what did you do that made the difference?
“I started playing more consistent,” Saracho said. “I got the ball toward the net at a slower pace but still efficient.”
“It just proves you don’t take anything for granted,” Cavin said. “It was a great match. He played well and just held on.”
No. 7 seed Saracho will take on No. 2 Will McDermott, who drew a bye, at 11 a.m. Thursday in the quarterfinal round. Teammate Farid Yunes, No. 3, plays his first match at the same time vs. No. 6 Andres Garcia from Las Vegas Robertson.
In the opening doubles match, senior Felix Higuera and junior Angel Reyes weren’t even supposed to be competing at state, but the No. 3 NMMI doubles team upset their No. 2 teammates at the district tournament. That gave them an unseeded berth in a match vs. the No. 7 seed from Bosque Prep.
And for a while, it looked they they might make a comeback as well.
“Kind of the same thing,” Cavin said. “Came back in the second set. We were playing Bosque’s No. 2s, so the kids battled, they fought, they competed.”
And despite coming back in that second set to force a tie breaker, the Colts fell 6-2, 6-6 (7-3.)
“We played good,” Higuera said. “I think so. For the first moments of the game we were so nervous, we were kind of stressed. I mean, this is the state tournament, right? We’re three’s against No. 2s. So it was kind of like the adrenalin taking over. But then we said, ‘OK. Let’s stop for a second and think about it. We can do it.’ And we started battling, battling, battling until we got there.”
“But then we made some mistakes,” Reyes said. Looking ahead to Friday’s team tournament, he added “We can do it. We have two games left at least to play. So we can do this.”
And Cavin is feeling good as the tournament moves into Day 2.
“We learned a lot today, and that’s what I think the first two rounds are about, to get a chance to see some of the players you haven’t seen,” he said. “Everybody’s here for a reason, so you’ve just got to go out and play and compete and don’t leave it on the court.”