COLORADO SPRINGS – We've all heard the saying before, that it is impossible to win a state championship on Day 1, but you can certainly lose it.
On Friday at Memorial Park in Colorado Springs in the first two rounds of the Class 3A state tournament, both of the team tournament favorites upheld their end of the winning bargain. Both D'Evelyn and Colorado Academy went a perfect 14-0 on the first day and sit atop the team leaderboard with 21 points in the modified scoring system that has been implemented this season.
"So far so good. Day one is always survive and take one match at a time," said D'Evelyn coach Woody Oliver, whose team finished second in 2019. "This is always the toughest challenge of the season as far as the pressure is concerned and the best things we could do today was take a deep breath and relax, then work your way through the match as best you can."
Not many of the Jaguars players needed to catch their breath though. They were on and off the courts relatively quickly on Friday, surrendering just 25 games in the 12 matches between No. 2 singles and No. 4 doubles.
The lone exception was at No. 1 singles, where junior Grace Li breezed through her opening round match and then had to work hard for a 7-5, 7-5 victory in the quarterfinals over Aspen senior Macy Hopkinson. Li will play St. Mary's Ellie Hartman in the semifinals tomorrow morning at 9 a.m.
A lot of them are just happy to be playing considering what happened last year and basically all the stuff they have been through the last two years," Oliver said. "They are all very hungry and very excited to be here and the message tomorrow is that we have been talking about for a long time now, you have the opportunity you wanted and now is the time to get it done."
D'Evelyn and Colorado Academy on the opposite side of the bracket at six of the positions and will only meet up once in the semifinals at No. 2 doubles.
"You get to the semifinals at state and everybody is good," Oliver said. "It's less about who is on the other side and more about taking care of your own business and playing your best when it matters most."
As good as D'Evelyn was, Colorado Academy was equally as impressive. The Mustangs dropped just one set in advancing everyone to the semifinals. Mustangs sophomore Anna Jordaan was spectacular in moving into the No. 1 singles semis. She dropped just two games in the opening match and then beat The Vanguard's Jordyn Van Manen 6-0, 6-0 in the quarters.
But as nice as the individual title would be for Jordaan, whose sister Caroline was a state golf champion at CA, she has her sights set on the team title as well.
"I didn't really go in thinking about outcomes, I was just focused on one match at a time and one game at a time," she said. "But for me, it isn't so much about winning the individual title, it's about the team title. The team is doing well and that's great."
After D'Evelyn and CA, Dawson sits in third place with 13 points and four spots in the semifinals. Holy Family is currently in fourth with 10 points and has three spots in the semifinals.