Your Prep Sports
IOWA CITY – Leading up to the state tennis tournaments West High senior Julianna Mascardo felt the nerves.
Playing at her home away from home at the Hawkeye Tennis and Recreation Center in front of a large group of supporters on Friday combined with some early success had Mascardo feeling comfortable.
That combination also has Mascardo playing in the state semifinals.
Mascardo won back-to-back matches on the opening day of the Class 2A state tournament on Friday sending the West High senior into the singles semifinals for the first time.
“Last night I slept but I still had some nerves,” Mascardo said. “I had to treat it like any other match and that’s what I did today and the results definitely showed that.”
Mascardo (13-2) defeated Sydney Toms of Dubuque Senior 6-0, 6-0 in her opening match to quell her nerves.
She followed that up with an impressive 7-5, 7-5 win over Ava Petersen of West Des Moines Dowling in the quarterfinals.
“I was stressed but I think I’ve been able to handle it the past few hours,” Mascardo said. “I’ve played here before and because it’s in town a lot of my friends are able to be here and support and family and that makes it so much more comforting in these intense moments.”
Mascardo will play Ankeny Centennial junior Abbie Peterson (11-0) in the semifinals at 10 a.m. on Saturday.
“It feels great,” Mascardo said. “I was hoping for at least fifth place and I am getting that so it’s exciting.”
Petersen advanced with a pair of impressive straight-set victories on Friday.
The Ankeny Centennial junior defeated Lily Schreckengast of Cedar Rapids Jefferson 6-0, 6-0 in the opening round and moved into the semifinals with a 6-0, 6-0 win over Liberty High junior Ella Gilbert.
“You have to stay in it, that’s my main goal in this whole thing is to treat it like any other match and keep the intensity match,” Mascardo said. “I’m very thankful that I get to play tomorrow and I am beyond thankful I get to play in the semifinals.”
Gilbert advanced to the second day to secure a second consecutive state medal with a 2-1 effort on Friday.
The 2A sixth-place finisher a year ago, Gilbert defeated Kira Smith of Ankeny 6-4, 6-2 in the opening round before her quarterfinal loss to Petersen.
Gilbert (14-3) defeated Esther Guan of Ankeny Centennial 7-5, 6-0 in the consolation round and will play Ava Petersen of West Des Moines Dowling in the consolation semifinals at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday.
West High senior Mohana Sunkara dropped a pair of matches on Friday falling to defending state champion Claire Gu of West Des Moines Valley 6-0, 6-0 and Guan 6-1, 6-1.