Gorman sophomore earns another chance at state tennis

Chelsea Crovetti knocked on the door of a state tennis championship last season.

That door never quite opened, but it served as plenty of motivation for this season.

The Bishop Gorman sophomore moved one step closer to her goal Monday, downing Palo Verde's Nikki Newell 6-1, 6-3 in the Sunset Region girls singles championship at Darling Tennis Center.

"I was so close last year," said Crovetti, who fell to Spring Valley's Tiffany Tavares in the state final. "As a sophomore, I'm ready. I'm motivated."

Crovetti, who earlier in the day breezed to a 6-0, 6-0 semifinal win over Bonanza's Lauren Smith, never let Newell get into rhythm, instead forcing the match to be played at a higher tempo.

Crovetti fell behind 2-0 in the second set, but quickly regained control.

"I just stepped in on short balls, and I wouldn't let myself get sucked into playing lobs and high balls," Crovetti said. "I tried to be aggressive."

While her sister didn't find the desired result, Palo Verde's Kristen Newell and doubles partner Chloe Henderson made a big splash in their freshman season.

The duo blitzed their way to a 6-1, 6-4 win over Gorman's Taylor Larreau and Morgan Matley in the Sunset girls doubles final.

"We're friends both on and off the court, and we just have very good cooperation on the court," Henderson said.


Liberty's Ashley Wao-Udin and Sina Gebrai almost saw their chance at redemption slip away.

Up a set and 5-4 against Coronado's Marina Arriola and Olivia Arriola, the Patriot duo couldn't hold the lead and dropped the second set.

No worries.

Wao-Udin and Gebrai rattled off the first three games of the third set on their way to a 6-3, 5-7, 6-4 win in the Sunrise final at Darling Tennis Center.

"We got more focused," said Wao-Udin, who teamed with Gebrai to finish second in the region in 2010 but won the doubles title with Aphrah Brokaw last year. "We just told each other to have fun and relax. We played smarter."

Coronado's Samantha Smith got on and off the court in a heartbeat, powering her way to a 6-0, 6-1 victory over teammate Paris Reese in the girls singles final.

"I just did a good job of hitting down the lines," said Smith, who will try to accomplish what her older sister Gabby did as a freshman two years ago.

Gabby Smith was the 2010 state champion in singles as a freshman and is now training in Virginia.


The spotlight finally found The Meadows senior Erika Mauban.

Mauban outlasted Mojave's Hannah Tatlock in a gem of a match, 6-7 (2), 6-4, 6-4, to capture the Division I-A Southern Region girls singles title.

Playing alongside teammates Taler Brazell and Amanda Brazell, who won the Class 4A doubles title last season, Mauban has been overlooked sometimes. That likely won't happen again.

"The Brazells are great players, and they're really established in the tennis community," Mauban said. "But I've never really cared what people think or say or if they say I'm not quite as good. I just want to work hard."

She had to do plenty of that to win a match that lasted more than three hours.

"It feels great to give it my all and pull this out," she said.

Meanwhile, the Brazell twins had a much easier time in claiming their third straight region crown. The seniors were 6-1, 6-0 winners over Faith Lutheran's Rachel Taber and Chandler Young.

"The experience we have helps," Amanda Brazell said. "A lot of our teammates were really nervous, but we're not as nervous."