“We’re going to dominate.”

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By Matt Petersen

Whether she meant to or not, sophomore Ashley Kildoo stood out during the Glendale Community College tennis teams’ last practice before the NJCAA Region I playoffs today.

Bright orange and turquoise apparel stood out in stark contrast to the white, black and gray of her teammates. Her yells of success and frustration echoed over serves, returns and occasional instruction from the coaching staff. Most startling was her brash playoff predictions compared to the coaches’ and other players’ humble hopes.

“We’re going to dominate.”

A week after doing just that to Mesa Community College as the number one in the Lady Gauchos’ lineup, maybe it’s not so startling.

“We smoked the crap out of Mesa. It was a very good ending point for us, just dominating that match. I feel like we’re going in strong right now.”

Coach Christ Tolson’s take on the team’s status is much more low-key.

“We were able to get a lot of momentum going into regionals,” coach Tolson said.

Momentum will be key. Each won match will earn Glendale a point, with the three highest-scoring schools going to nationals.

The cumulative point system turns a largely individual sport into a complete team effort.

Such an attitude shouldn’t be a problem for Glendale. The team has taken to shouting together in a swaying circle to boost both the team chemistry as well as confidence.

Another confidence booster for the Lady Gauchos has been the recent play of freshman Katie Lively. Projected to be the team’s number two player, Lively slid to the three spot thanks to an injury that hampered her during the first half of the season.

Lively’s come on late however, playing especially well in the last match against Mesa.

“I’m looking for Katie to do very well,” Tolson said. “She’s finally finding her stroke.”

While Kildoo looks to move forward in the playoffs, Tolson wants the team to take in the season as a large, learning experience.

“From the beginning of the season, we looked at things as more of a journey,” Tolson said. “Whatever happens, happens.” What happens today and tomorrow will determine whether or not Glendale tennis advances to nationals in Tucson next month.

If it were up to Kildoo, they’d already be booking the trip down the Interstate -10.

“Mentally, we’re strong. Physically, we’re strong. We’re ready for this.”