CASA GRANDE — According to Casa Grande Union girls tennis head coach Denise Echeverria, the team is always rebuilding and looking for future stars that can compete for a championship.
After last year’s squad failed to produce a state tournament competitor, the team is hoping this season will yield better results for the top six CG Union players.
Last season saw the departure of two of the program’s strongest competitors, seniors Clara Munguia and Sorraya Wright. The two were the last Cougars to qualify for the state tournament in 2021, with Munguia competing in the singles bracket and Wright partnering with Merlin D’Souza.
With both Munguia and Wright gone from the program, the door has opened for two players to take the top two spots on the roster.
Seniors Hailey Mace and Alexis Castro are the lone seniors at the top of the Cougars lineup. The rest of the roster is comprised of a mix of juniors and sophomores, hoping to develop into team players throughout the year.
Another change coming for CG Union is their division, with the team making the jump to Division I and being placed in the Tucson region.
The new region poses new challenges for the Cougars, with new region opponent Marana expected to be a tough team to beat in the new season.
While Echeverria likes where the team is at right now, she explained that the girls need to continue to improve after every practice and match.
“I see them competing well right now, they need to keep working hard though and not let up,” she said. “We are going to hit some harder teams later down the road and we need to be ready to face those tough teams and compete.”
Echeverria said that the strongest aspect of the team in the new season is their top doubles team. With Mace and Castro filling those roles, Echeverria said that they have the potential to qualify as a doubles pair.
While the Cougars will rely on their two seniors, Echeverria said that she sees a lot of potential in the rest of the roster and expects them to continue to develop.
“You don’t know when each one is going to peak,” she said. “Every single player on this team has a good attitude and every single one of them wants to win.”
With high expectations for the group, time will tell if the balanced roster can reach those expectations and return to the state tournament.
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