Palo Verde needs to make a little more room in its trophy case.
The Panthers swept the 4A state championships in team tennis Wednesday at Bishop Gorman, with the boys defeating Coronado 10-2 and the girls coming back for a 10-5 win over Coronado.
For the Palo Verde boys, it’s a fourth consecutive state championship. For the girls, it’s a return to the top. They won three state titles in a row from 2014-16, but Coronado had taken the last two.
“It just shows our dedication and how we haven’t backed down, even when we’ve been defeated the last few years,” Palo Verde senior Devon Yamane said of the girls win. “We’ve been working really hard to reach this moment.”
Caroline Lemcke dropped only one game in a 3-0 singles day for the Panthers, but the match wasn’t without drama.
Palo Verde fell behind 4-2 after the first rotation before bouncing back to win five of six the second time through for a 7-5 lead. Even as the third round rolled on and victory neared for the Panthers, it wasn’t a foregone conclusion.
Roxy Okano and Caroline Hsu held a 5-2 lead over Mana Iretani and Grace Nisson, but the Coronado pair came back to 5-4 and had two game points to level the score. Okano and Hsu won four straight points, winning the match and clinching the team crown.
“My heart started racing a little faster after (we fell behind),” Palo Verde coach Tyler Marchant said. “With our pair-ups in the second round, I knew we’d stand a better chance. I didn’t plan the first round as well as I’d thought, but we pulled through.”
The Palo Verde boys are used to taking home trophies. They’re not used to doing so as easily as they did this year. In each of the past two years, Clark has taken Palo Verde into a tiebreaker round before falling short.
This time, no third round was necessary, let alone anything beyond.
“We enjoyed it being close like (the past couple years),” Palo Verde senior Jack Kostrinsky said. “We had some competitive matches yesterday and Faith (Lutheran) earlier this year. It’s nice winning comfortably, but we really did enjoy the last two years, having it really close in the final.”
The 4A individual titles will be decided Thursday. Semifinals begin at 9 a.m., with finals set for noon. Clark’s Audrey Boch-Collins will try and win her fourth straight 4A singles championship.
Boulder City, The Meadows split 3A titles
Like in 4A, the same two teams met for the 3A state tennis championships.
Boulder City claimed the boys title, 10-7 over The Meadows, while The Meadows girls grabbed the girls crown, 10-6 over Boulder City.
In the individual events, Western swept the singles titles. Rua Elmore defeated Boulder City’s Connor Mikkelson in boys singles 6-3, 7-5 and Maddie Cherry won girls singles 6-4, 6-0 over North Tahoe’s Daniela Christian.
Boulder City claimed both doubles titles. Preston Jorgensen and Boen Huxford beat South Tahoe’s Travis Lee and Juan Vasquez 6-1, 6-2 in the boys final, with Olivia Mikkelson and Tegan Pappas beating The Meadows’ Ashley Hofflander and Peyton Barsel.
Athletes of the Week
Ylexus Gilliland, F, Liberty: The senior scored four goals in a win over Clark.
Andy Rodriguez, F, Western: The senior scored goals and four assists in a 2-0 week for the Warriors.
Aginae Cunningham, RB, Silverado: The junior had 285 rushing yards and four TDs in a win over Desert Oasis.
Anuhea Faitau, S, Durango: The senior had 53 assists, six kills, seven digs in a win over Green Valley.
Contact Jason Orts at email@example.com or 702-387-2936. Follow @SportsWithOrts on Twitter.