Sophomore Bigelow leads charge to state

Bishop Gorman’s girls already had a great 1-2 punch in singles.

On Monday, though, the Gaels relied on Blair Bigelow to deliver a knockout.

Bigelow, a sophomore and Gorman’s No. 3 singles player, lost only one game in three sets as the Gaels defeated Palo Verde, 12-6 in the Sunset Region tennis final.

“She was just amazing today,” Bishop Gorman coach Gordon Hammond said.

The Gaels, the two-time defending state champions, advanced to the state tournament, which begins Oct. 18.

Palo Verde’s boys, the defending state champion, beat Bonanza, 13-5, to return to the state tournament.

Gorman’s top two singles players — sophomore Anita Lee and freshman Sarah Toti — are among the best in the area.

Playing in their shadow, Bigelow is often overlooked. She has floated between doubles and singles this season.

“She played doubles against us the first time,” said Palo Verde coach Zach Brandt, whose team lost a 10-8 decision to Gorman in the regular season. “Today she stepped up big.”

Bigelow had a little something to prove as she hopes to be a full-time singles player.

“I played doubles last year and I really wanted to play singles (this year),” Bigelow said. “I worked hard all summer to improve.”

Bigelow dispatched her first two opponents without losing a game. She won 6-1 in the third set.

“I was really proud of myself,” Bigelow said. “I didn’t let the nerves get to me. This gives me a world of confidence. I feel like at state, I can really help the team.”

Lee lost only two games in winning three sets, while Toti dropped one game as the Gaels swept all nine singles sets.

Jillian Davis, a senior, and sophomore Allie Beckett went 3-0 in doubles to push the Gaels over the hump.

In the boys final, Brandon Parker went 3-0 to lead the Panthers, who haven’t lost a match since 2005.

Palo Verde went 22-0 last season and are 17-0 this year.

Hadrien Saperstein added wins in both of his singles matches.

“Brandon and Hadrien have both been really good,” Brandt said. “They’ve been solid singles guys.”

The Panthers also won seven of the nine doubles points as Spencer Aguiar and Zach Wetterling went 3-0.

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