Stars celebrate six seniors with win over Edgewood

BNL’s Ashlyn Wever reaches for a forehand return during action at No.2 singles. Wever won in two sets as the Stars topped Edgewood on Senior Day.

By Justin Sokeland

BEDFORD – The end is near – not here yet, because Bedford North Lawrence still has two important tournaments on the horizon. Call it the beginning of the end, as six seniors were honored with the customary introductions and the insertion into the lineup.

What a way to go. The Stars celebrated the upperclassmen with a 3-2 victory over Edgewood. Tears, smiles, satisfaction – the emotions were across the board. That’s what makes a Senior Day so unpredictable.

Each senior had a unique perspective. Bella Stigall and Mallory Pride, cousins and doubles partners, have the double duty of playing for Mom/Aunt. Layla Gomez has overcome unbelievable physical challenges, Reagan Corey was making her varsity debut, Italy Lewis just wanted video evidence, Ashlyn Wever has reached a level of play that makes BNL coach Joni Stigall wish she had extra eligibility.

BNL’s Layla Gomez hits a return during No.2 doubles action with Reagan Corey.

“I hate it because it means I’m saying goodbye to girls that I have watched, taught and formed friendships with over four years,” Stigall said. “I get close to them, and these girls especially because they all have been friends with Bella since they were very young. They all bring something different to the team that we will miss.”

On the court, Wever won at No.2 singles, conquering Ellie Jackson 6-0, 6-2. Lewis battled through a “bummed” start for a 6-3, 6-0 win over Marley Jackson at No.3.

Stigall and Pride wrapped up the team triumph with a 6-1, 6-2 win over Candice Rosemeier and Kaiden Harrington at No.1 doubles.

The Mustangs won at No.1 singles with Macy Vaughn topping Becca Epping 6-2, 6-3. At No.2 doubles, with Gomez and Corey combining for the first time, Edgewood’s Sophia Kapperman and Wren Millick battled to a 5-7, 6-2, 10-7 (in a third-set tiebreaker) triumph.

The Stars (9-5) had time to reflect on what their four years have served.

“It’s really special,” Bella Stigall said. “It’s been a lot harder with my Mom as the coach. We butt heads a lot. But tonight it’s coming to an end and it’s kind of sad.

BNL’s Mallory Pride cracks a winner during her match at No.2 doubles.

“Hard works pays off. Just keep my head up and follow my dreams. It’s all working out pretty well.”

“I just know it’s my last one and it makes me sad,” Lewis said. “It’s a lot bigger of a deal than it probably should be.”

The most emotional was Gomez, who fought through her physical recovery from an automobile accident to make that senior walk.

“It’s a miracle,” Stigall said. “She worked at it, she worked hard. That’s what happens if you want to do it. It’s been really huge for her.

“Ashlyn brings entertainment and joy. Italy brings sassiness and spunk. Layla brings determination. Reagan brings peace and quiet, she never says a word. Mallory brings aggressiveness and athleticism, and Bella brings skill, one of the best serves we’ve ever had – and complete and total chaos.
They are all great students and great people who cannot be replaced.”

BNL will host Columbus East in the first round of the Hoosier Hills Conference tournament on Monday.

BNL’s Bella Stigall connects for a winner.

BNL 3, Edgewood 2


1 Macy Vaughn, E d. Becca Epping 6-2, 6-3

2 Ashlyn Wever, BNL d. Ellie Jackson 6-0, 6-2

3 Italy Lewis, BNL d. Marley Jackson 6-3, 6-0


1 Bella Stigall and Mallory Pride, BNL d. Candice Rosemeier and Kaiden Harrington 6-1, 6-2

2 Sophia Kapperman and Wren Millick, E d. Reagan Corey and Layla Gomez 5-7, 6-2, 10-7