By Chris Beck
As the regular season winds down, the Pima Community College men’s tennis team is stepping up play and looking toward the playoffs.
“We are pretty much securing our spots for regionals,” head coach Sharif Moustafa said. “We have some players becoming No. 1 seeds and No. 2 seeds for the region tournament right now so we are looking pretty good.”
Currently the Aztecs are 8-5 overall and 4-3 in conference play. They are ranked third in the conference and are assured a spot in the tournament.
Pima beat Paradise Valley Community College 8-1 on April 6 for its most recent win.
“It wasn’t close,” Moustafa said. “We just went in there and did our thing. We beat them pretty well last time too, so we just kept our pace and did the same thing again this time.”
The win poises the Aztecs for their season finale on April 8. The team will take on regional powerhouse Scottsdale Community College at 1:30 p.m.
Earlier this month, Scottsdale’s Fighting Artichokes handed the Aztecs their worst loss of the year, beating the squad 9-0.
“We have to play as consistent as we possibly can,” Moustafa said about playing Scottsdale. “Even though we lost 9-0 to them last time, we were pretty much up in almost every single match. We just have to close out those matches and fight for our right to beat them.”
The match will be at the Tucson Racquet Club, located at 4001 N. Country Club. Admission is free.
There will be a 12-day break after the team plays Scottsdale. The region tournament is April 19-20.
“After the Scottsdale match, we’ve got to get ready for regionals,” Moustafa said. “We’re looking good. We are definitely a top three team in the conference right now, for sure.”
On April 1, Glendale Community College beat Pima 5-4 in one of the closest contests of the season. The loss came on the third straight day of matches for the Pima team.
The Glendale Gauchos are the No. 2 team in the conference and swept Pima in the regular season.
The Aztecs ended March with a shutout victory over non-conference opponent San Diego City Community College, 9-0.
Just the day before, on March 30, Pima claimed another convincing victory over Mesa Community College, 8-1.
Nationals begin on May 10 and Moustafa is optimistic about all that will lead up to it.
“I really do like our chances right now,” the first-year coach said. “We just got to go out there and make sure we get our seeds situated.”
–Daniel Gaona contributed to this report.