Scottsdale’s Notre Dame Prep girl’s tennis team won the AIA Division II State Championship, Saturday, May 7, at Paseo Racquet Club in Glendale. It was their first state championship since their five-year run at the top from 2007 to 2011.
The NDP team faced their nemesis, Catalina Foothills High School from Tucson, a team they lost the state championship to two years ago—and had never defeated before—to claim the title and bring the state championship back to Scottsdale.
“Catalina Foothills is a great team,” Notre Dame Prep head coach Shelley Dinges said. “I knew this would be as close a match as you can have.”
With NDP winning 5-4, it came down to a tiebreaker in #1 doubles, where junior Alexandra (Lexi) Lehman and senior Alyssa Heid toppled the top-seed Catalina Foothills duo in a come-from-behind victory.
“This was a true team win,” said Dinges, who was recently named United States Tennis Association Central Arizona Coach of the Year for her contributions to her athletes and the sport of tennis. “Every player did her part,” she added.
Lehman and Heid were so focused on their match that they didn’t know they held the key to the championship. “Lexi and I were playing so well. We were lose and in control, so we just gave the match everything we had,” Heid said. They didn’t know how their teammates had faired. “To be honest I didn't know it was down to us until we were tied at 7 all,” Heid added. The final score was 9-7.
That final game seemed to go on and on, with onlookers from both sides, anticipating an outcome. In the end, the Saints prevailed. “I am still on cloud nine and playing the moment over and over again in my head because it is such a dream come true,” Heid said.
Within seconds of winning, the girls were surrounded by their teammates, holding the trophy high as a team.
“It was really nice to bring the state championship back to Notre Dame Prep after so many years,” Lehman said.
Opened in 2002, Notre Dame Prep is a Catholic diocesan college preparatory high school with a co-ed enrollment of 894 students. The school has received national recognition for the caliber of its academic and athletic programs. The school is located at 9701 E. Bell Road in Scottsdale.