Palo Verde’s girls tennis team has looked forward all season to a potential showdown with Bishop Gorman for the Sunset Region championship and a berth in the state tournament.
Still needing a win Thursday to get there, the Panthers shifted into high gear.
Palo Verde swept the first 10 completed sets to clinch a win and went on to a deceptively easy 14-4 victory over visiting Bonanza in a region semifinal.
The Panthers (13-0) will meet Gorman (12-0) at 3:30 p.m. Saturday at Darling Tennis Center with the Sunset Region’s lone state invitation up for grabs. Gorman beat Palo Verde in both the region and state title matches last season.
“They have worked all season long. Their goal was to get back to state again,” Panthers coach Jane Centrella said. “They’re solid players. They have experience. They’ve been focused.”
Thursday’s match never was in doubt, with the Panthers dropping two games en route to a 6-0 lead after the first round. Singles players Nikki Newell, Tia Okano and Tiffany Newell each won 6-0 in the second round to extend the lead to 9-0, and when Kristen Newell and Chloe Henderson finished a 6-0 doubles set, the Panthers had enough to points to ensure a win.
“I have some incredible starters, and I have confidence in them,” Centrella said. “They just play well.”
The only point for Bonanza (10-4) in the first two rounds came by injury retirement.
Okano breezed to three 6-0 wins. Nikki Newell and Tiffany Newell each went 2-0 in singles, and the Panthers’ doubles teams of Kristen Newell and Henderson, and Britney Khuu and Abby Till both were 2-0.
“This is the favorite team I’ve coached,” Centrella said. “The girls get along really well. They have fun together, and they’re talented. I have a lot of quality players.”
Kim Pace and Kayla Sylvester were 2-1 in doubles to pace the Bengals, who fell to Palo Verde in the region semifinals for the second straight year.
■ Bishop Gorman 17, Centennial 1 – At Gorman, Amber Del Rosario was 2-0 in singles as the Gaels advanced by routing the Bulldogs (7-6).
Julia McDonald and Addie Gardner were 2-0 in doubles for Gorman.
■ Green Valley 12, Liberty 6 – At Green Valley, Erica Shelton went 2-1 in singles to help the Gators (12-0) advance to the region final with a win over the Patriots.
Tasha Dewitt and Sophie Arrowsmith were 2-1 in doubles for Green Valley, which will face Coronado (12-0) for the region crown at 10:30 a.m. Saturday at Darling Tennis Center.
Ashley Wao-Udin went 3-0 in singles, and Sina Gebrai and Kayla Whitney were 3-0 in doubles for Liberty (8-4).
■ Coronado 17, Basic 1 – At Coronado, Tiffany Nguyen and Olivia Arriola teamed to go 3-0 in doubles as the Cougars routed the Wolves (7-6).
Nicole Gardner was 2-0 in singles for Coronado.
DIVISION I-A SOUTHERN REGION
■ Faith Lutheran 13, Boulder City 4 – At Boulder City, Kathleen Wright went 3-0 in singles as the Crusaders (16-2) moved into the region final and clinched the program’s first state tournament berth by topping the Eagles (12-2).
The Crusaders swept the nine doubles sets, dropping a total of seven games. The teams of Alexis Smith and Kristina Berg, and Sarah Escoto and Stacie Graham each went 2-0 for Faith Lutheran, which will meet The Meadows (14-1) at 6 p.m. today at Darling Tennis Center.
■ The Meadows 16, Clark 2 – At The Meadows, Anjali Daulat, Erika Mauban and Bhavana Janga each went 3-0 in singles as the Mustangs earned a state berth by blitzing the Chargers (10-6).
Amanda Brazell teamed with two players to finish 3-0 in doubles on the day for The Meadows.In-depth high school sports coverage