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June 29, 2015 10:19 AM
AHSBULLDOGSThough the high school tennis season ended almost two months ago, for two Albuquerque High School players the last hour of that season remains almost frozen in time, a memory never to be forgotten. Freshman Madelynn Chavez, 14, and sophomore Skye Dorato, 16, paired together in doubles in the team competition, won a tension-packed match against La Cueva to clinch the championship for the Lady Bulldogs.  This wasn’t just any run-of-the-mill crown. It was Albuquerque High’s first big blue trophy in team play in tennis since the NMAA added the component in 1993.  In fact, the victory is only the second team title AHS girls have won - the first being the four-girl golf team, in 1979. The Bulldog girls are coached by Becky Lee and Liz Keefe.
No. 3 seed Albuquerque High hadn’t played No. 1 La Cueva this year in a dual match.  How did you feel going into that final? La Cueva is always solid.
Maddie:  I was pretty confident.  Our lineup was pretty strong.  
Skye:  I don’t think anyone was afraid of us.  We had worked hard.  Though we didn’t play them in any dual matches, we played a lot of doubles, especially in practice.
Maddie: I kind of prefer singles, but I know doubles is important in team play.  
It’s not as though you can’t play doubles, Maddie.  You and Abby Nielsen had won the girls doubles at state a couple of days before.
Maddie:  Yes, well, Abby is a really good player.  
Take me through your match, the last one in the team competition. You guys were up 5-2 in the first set against Avery Addison and Janelle Lee, both respectable players.  
Skye: I was pretty nervous … I had to go to the bathroom.  Coach (Lee) said at the change-over to ask the official to take a bathroom break. I told Coach that it was OK, that I would hold it.  We lost two games and suddenly the score was 5-4.  Coach said again to ask the official for a break.  I remember I asked the official and she said no.  Coach (Lee) said, “Let her go!”  We changed sides and Maddie served to close out the set at 6-4.  Finally I got to take a bathroom break.  
Maddie: My serve is my best shot.  I’m lefthanded.
The second set wasn’t any easier, was it?
Skye:  They jumped right off to 2-0.  At one point we were down 2-3.  
What turned the tide?
Skye:  We figured out their game.  They played one up and one back.  Coach is always telling us to get to net together, but this time we just stayed both back.  We hit consistent and waited for them to make mistakes.  When Maddie had a chance, she would step up and hit big winners.  
Maddie:  It worked.
After you won the second set 6-3, what happened?
Maddie: I remember everybody ran out on the court.  They were hugging us. A lot of people don’t think about Albuquerque High playing tennis.  Other teams, they underestimate us.
Skye:  I love Albuquerque High.  I think Albuquerque High has the best school pride.
I’m guessing there was an assembly the next week at school.  
Maddie: This was a big deal.
Skye: Everybody at school was excited.
So, how long have you two been playing tennis?
Skye:  I started when I was 11.  My grandpa taught me on a tiny court with little rackets.
Maddie:  I think I’ve been playing since I was 5.  I took some lessons at TCA from Alex Mansfield.
Are you playing any tennis this summer?
Skye:  I’ll be in Junior Team Tennis and I’m going to Bart Scott’s Lobo Camp.
Maddie:  I played the Southwest Closed in Tucson.  It was 112 degrees.  I got sick in the last match.  I’m also going to Bart Scott’s camp.  I work with Bart.  
It would be remiss. Skye, if I neglected to mention the tennis bloodline in the Dorato family.  It’s pretty impressive. Would you please list those who competed?
Skye:  Sure.  
--Peter Dorato, my grandfather, was a nationally ranked player in age-group tournaments.  
--Alex Dorato, my uncle, played for Albuquerque High, then later for UNM.  For almost 25 years he has been the head men’s tennis coach at Yale University.
-- Sylvia Dorato, my aunt, played for Albuquerque High and for UNM.  
-- Veronica Dorato, my mother, played for AHS in the early 1980s.
-- Lily Dorato, my sister, played junior tennis and for Albuquerque High for two years.  
-- Bryce Dorato, my brother, played for AHS from 2002-2005.  He teaches tennis at TCA.

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