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The Meadows captures girls crown

When it comes to enrollment, Palo Verde High School outnumbers The Meadows by a 4-to-1 margin.

But when it came to girls tennis Friday night at Darling Tennis Center, the Mustangs had more than enough firepower to pound the Panthers.

The Meadows (13-0) cruised to a 13-5 victory over Palo Verde (12-2) to claim the first Sunset Region girls tennis title in school history.

Taler Brazell went 3-0 in singles and the teams of McKay Novak and Anjali Daulat and Shilpa Daulat and Erika Mauban each went 3-0 for the Mustangs, who advance to the state semifinals Oct. 21 in Reno.

“It’s amazing we’re able to come out here and compete with these huge schools,” said Brazell, a sophomore. “It shows we’re more than academics.”

The Meadows, which beat Palo Verde 12-6 in the regular season, is the first school in six years other than Bishop Gorman to win the Sunset title.

“It’s really special for the kids. They worked very hard this season, and they came to play today,” first-year Mustangs coach Maggie Yahner said. “The girls had a lot of focus and a lot of heart.”

And a lot of support.

“The whole school’s behind us,” Brazell said. “The teachers come out, the students come out, and it’s just a great atmosphere out here.

“It’s funny, our sports guy, he’s like, ‘You’re going to state. We already booked the bus.’ ”

Victoire Saperstein went 2-1 in singles to lead the Panthers.

“We had a great season, a fun season, a very successful season,” Palo Verde coach Jane Centrella said. “This (Meadows’) team tonight was awesome. They were stronger than we were.”

BOYS

■ Palo Verde 15, Centennial 3 — The defending state champion Panthers showed they’re primed for another run at the title as they rolled past the Bulldogs to capture their fifth Sunset Region crown in seven years.

Fernando Sunago went 2-0 in singles after missing much of the season with a cracked rib, and three Palo Verde doubles teams went 2-0 as well: Zach Bellon and Jeremy Mann; Ozzy Abraham and Tanner Berkabile; and Zach Surmacz and Bruno Sunago.

The Panthers (14-0) extended their winning streak to 30 straight matches with their second win of the season over Centennial (12-2).

“They came out of the gate playing tough. It was nice to see our guys dig deep and get the win,” Palo Verde coach Zach Brandt said. “Right now we are playing as good as we can play.”

Sunago, who suffered a cracked rib in early August, said he’s about 80 or 90 percent healthy.

But being a senior, Sunago wanted to play in the Sunset final and also plans to pursue a second consecutive state championship.

“I really don’t want to give (the title) to anyone else. I want to win it,” he said. “We’ve all got to be hungry for this title.”

Centennial upset Bishop Gorman on its way to the final before running into a juggernaut in Palo Verde.

“Palo, they’re the team. But it’s a good experience for my team,” Bulldogs coach Jeff Noa said. “They know where the (measuring) bar is at now.”

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