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Falcons keeping their focus

Colfax's Zajac, Graves will represent Falcons at Division III singles tennis championships this week
By: Todd Mordhorst, Journal Sports Editor
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There was no exuberant celebration following Kari Zajac’s Pioneer Valley League singles championship match victory last Friday at Auburn Racquet Club. The Colfax High senior was instead full of sympathy for her opponent across the net - teammate Heidi Graves. Zajac became the first unseeded player to win the PVL girls title, but Graves’ gimpy left knee left her unable to cover the court and Zajac rolled to a 6-1, 6-0 win the title match. “It doesn’t feel that great beating Heidi when she has her knee problem,” said Zajac, a fourth-year singles player for the Falcons. “It felt really good though to make it to the finals and overcome all those really hard matches. That was the tough part.” Both Zajac and Graves will represent Colfax at the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III singles championships on Thursday at Oak Park in Stockton. Graves plans on gutting it out on her bum knee this week after putting in a heroic effort at the PVL tournament. “Kari played such a great tournament that she deserved to be able to go out on a win,” Graves said of the PVL final. “I thought, I’d rather go down with a fight than not have a match. I’m going to play (this week) no matter what.” Zajac and Graves are hoping to re-capture some of the magic they made two years ago at the section tournament. They teamed up to win the Division III doubles title in 2006. It’s the highlight of Graves’ career, to this point. “That was really exciting,” Zajac said. Both Zajac and Graves are 4.0 students. They’re best friends and coach Paul Phillips said he couldn’t ask for better examples for his young players. “We always have each other’s backs,” Graves said. “We’re always cheering for each other, it’s constant support. It doesn’t get any better.” After contending for PVL supremacy in the first three years of PVL play the Falcons have been brushed aside by section power Placer the last two years. The Hillmen have yet to lose a PVL match since moving into the league prior to last season. Zajac’s run of upsets on her way to the championship included a victory over Placer’s Emily Schoenhoff in the semifinals. “When Placer wins everything else, to get Colfax’s name out there was really nice,” Graves said.