Latin freshman Alessandra Bianco tops Oak Park’s Taylor Arends, Fenwick’s Laura Gutierrez at sectional

SHARE Latin freshman Alessandra Bianco tops Oak Park’s Taylor Arends, Fenwick’s Laura Gutierrez at sectional

OAK PARK — Oak Park-River Forest’s Taylor Arends and Fenwick’s Laura Gutierrez couldn’t solve Latin freshman Alessandra Bianco in the Oak Park-River Forest Sectional on Saturday, but it didn’t mean much.

At the end of the day, all three singles players, along with the Huskies’ Hannah Gibson, qualified for next week’s state tournament.

Bianco beat Arends 7-6, 6-3 in the semifinals and then topped Gutierrez 6-1, 6-1 to win the title. Arends defeated Gibson 6-2, 6-2 in the third-place match.

“She didn’t wow me but she was very solid and she got the job done,” Arends said of Bianco. “But there were definitely points where I could have taken advantage. I was up 6-5 and 30-0 in the first set.”

Arends made the move back to singles this season after taking second at state last year with Tess Trinka. Arends considers herself a much better doubles player so she went into her senior season unsure of what to expect.

“I did feel some pressure to win this year,” Arends said. “My family and friends expected me to do well at singles because I was second at doubles last year. And it’s not fun to lose and that happened a lot in [West Suburban Silver} conference because everyone is so good. But I’ve liked playing singles a lot more than I thought I would.”

Gutierrez didn’t have any more luck with Bianco.

“She’s just such a tough player,” Gutierrez said. “We actually have the same coach and have hit against each other the last couple years. She gets everything back and you really have to be on top of your game. I didn’t feel like I was 100 percent and I wish I could have put forth a better effort.”

Gutierrez tweaked her back a couple weeks ago but she hopes to be at full strength for state.

“It’s unfortunate it happened so close to crunch time but I’m hoping to be at 100 percent next week,” Gutierrez said. “I’m getting it massaged and visiting the chiropractor. It’s just tough because you don’t want to do anything in a match that could affect it more.”

OPRF and Latin both scored 28 points, but the Huskies got the plaque because they had four qualifiers. Fenwick was third with 22 points.

Also headed to state for OPRF are doubles teams Peyton Schafer and Maya Trinka (second,) and Anna Rossa and Audrey Angelos (third).

Fenwick’s doubles of Ana Sprajcer and Rylee Brennan also qualified for state by finishing fourth. Latin’s Kendall Sievewright and Miya Coleman took the doubles title without dropping a set all tournament.

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