BENTONVILLE -- Lucia Canigova followed in her sister Adriana's footsteps coming to Bentonville High as a foreign exchange student from Slovakia this year.
Now she's also followed her as the winner of the 6A-West Conference girls' singles title after her win Thursday afternoon at Memorial Park.
6A-West Conference Tennis Tournament
At Memorial Park, Bentonville
Clardy/Swope, Springdale Har-Ber, def. Baleskaran/Ribuchin, Bentonville, 6-2, 3-6, 6-2.
Henry/Gommel, Rogers High def. Mason/Runnels, Fayetteville, 2-6, 6-1, 7-6.
Clardy/Swope, Springdale Har-Ber, def. Henry/Gommel, Rogers, 6-1, 7-5.
Sweeney, Fayetteville, def. Blunden, Rogers High, 6-0, 6-0.
Shoemake, Bentonville West, def. Simpson, Fayetteville, 7-6, 6-1.
Shoemake, Bentonville West, def. Sweeney, Fayetteville, 6-4, 4-6, 6-2.
1, Fayetteville, Bentonville West (tie) 9. 3, Rogers High, Springdale Har-Ber (tie) 7, 5, Bentonville High 4. 6, Van Buren, Rogers Heritage (tie) 1.
Coleman/Humbert, Fayetteville, def. Snipes/Stribling, Rogers Heritage, 6-2, 6-2.
Long/Matthews, Rogers High, def. Schneringer/Tappana, Bentonville West, 6-2, 6-1.
Coleman/Humbert, Fayetteville, def. Long/Matthews, Rogers High, 6-4, 6-3.
Canigova, Bentonville, def. Jaggernauth, Rogers High, 6-1, 6-0.
Houston, Fayetteville, def. Bohnert, Rogers High 6-0, 6-1.
Canigova, Bentonville High, def. Houston, Fayetteville, 7-5, 7-6 (8-6).
1, Fayetteville 11, Bentonville High 10, 3, Rogers High 8. 4, Bentonville West, Rogers Heritage (tie) 4. 6, Springdale Har-Ber 2.
Canigova upset the top seed and defending state champion Mary Houston of Fayetteville 7-5, 7-6 (8-6) in the finals, avenging a loss to Houston three weeks ago.
The senior said she played her best tennis of the season in the finals, much better than the first time she faced Houston.
"That was not a good day for me last time," said Canigova, whose sister won conference and state singles titles in 2015. "My serve was not good at all."
Canigova took the first set, but trailed 5-3 in the second. She even faced set point, trailing 6-5 in the tiebreaker but scored the final three points to close out the set and the match.
Bentonville coach Nick Nersesian said she made adjustments on and off the court with the time and weather change.
"She's getting her strength and energy back after she got a little bit of a cold," Nersesian said. "It kinda knocked her down a little bit, but she's responded. She also has a little pressure on her, too. Her sister won the state championship, so I'm sure her older sister's saying 'Hey, you did this. Take it and finish.'"
The 17-year-old has played tennis for more than 10 years, but she's enjoyed the experience in Bentonville because of the team aspect.
"It's been amazing," Canigova said. "We don't really have a team back in my city. Just me and one friend. I love having a team and the support and everything."
Bentonville West's Hayden Shoemake notched an upset of his own to win the boys' singles title, edging Fayetteville's Jake Sweeney, last year's state runner-up, 6-4, 4-6, 6-2 in the finals.
Shoemake lost twice to Sweeney last year but hadn't faced him yet this year. The junior said he just tried to stay positive throughout the match, and it worked out well.
"I knew if I stayed with him long enough I would have my chances," Shoemake said. "Usually when I played him, I'd just get frustrated, and I'd be out of the third set. That was how it went the two times we played. I won the first set, he won the second set and the third set, I was mentally gone."
Shoemake's win helped Bentonville West share the boys' team title with Fayetteville as each finished with nine points. Fayetteville won the girls team title outright, edging Bentonville 11-10, as the doubles team of Grace Coleman and Yasmine Humpert claimed the conference title.
Coleman and Humpert, the top seed, won 6-4, 6-3 in the finals. The Springdale Har-Ber tandem of Connor Clardy and Hayden Swope, also the top seed, won the boys' doubles title with a 6-1, 7-5 victory in the finals.
Sports on 09/28/2018
Print Headline: PREP TENNIS: Bentonville's Canigova upsets defending state champion to win 6A-West singles title