Versatile Gorman junior doubles her fun in victory

Anita Lee didn’t bat an eye when she was told she wouldn’t be defending her Class 4A girls singles title.

The Bishop Gorman junior wasn’t the least bit disappointed, especially when she found out she’d have a chance to add a doubles title to her collection.

Lee, the Gaels’ No. 2 singles player for most of the year, teamed with freshman Sarah Bessen to win the Sunset Region girls doubles title Friday at Darling Tennis Center. The Gorman duo topped Palo Verde’s Shelby Zepeda and Nikki Booth, 6-1, 6-1.

“I was excited about it. I like playing doubles,” said Lee, who shifted to doubles briefly last season to help the Gaels win their third straight state team title. “I’m playing pretty well right now, and I just thought it was a good idea.”

Lee and Bessen, Gorman’s No. 3 singles player for most of the year, lost only three games in five matches in the region tournament.
“It’s really an honor to play with her,” Bessen said. “It’s a great opportunity.”

The decision to move two of the state’s best singles players to doubles raised more than a few eyebrows, but it gives Gorman a chance for a girls tennis sweep this year.

The Gaels will attempt to retain their team title in Carson City next week, then Lee and Bessen will chase the doubles title as sophomore Sarah Toti, the runner-up to Lee last season in singles, pursues the singles crown.

“There’s a chance we could win both singles and doubles,” Gaels coach Gordon Hammond said. “Anita and I talked, and I told her that if she won a state doubles title, that would only help her. Colleges will look at it and see how versatile she is.”

Toti struggled early but won the Sunset singles title, defeating Bonanza’s Alison Matlovic, 7-6 (2), 6-1.

“It took me a set to really get going, but she was just playing really well,” Toti said. “She ran down a lot of balls.”

Defending state doubles champions Aashish Daulat and Andrew Whiting of Bonanza were sharp again in a 6-0, 6-2 thrashing of Gorman’s Alec Thomas and Kyle Del Rosario.

In an all-Palo Verde boys singles final, Stan Breland outlasted teammate Brandon Parker, 6-3, 6-7 (6), 6-4.

The top two finishers in the region earn automatic berths to the state meet. The singles and doubles portion of the meet begins Friday in Carson City.

Third-place finishers in each region return to the Darling center Monday to play each other, with the winner also advancing to state.

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