Area tennis teams claim district titles
Published: Wednesday, April 3, 2013 at 11:00 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, April 3, 2013 at 11:58 p.m.
Oak Hall moved a little closer to P.K. Yonge in girls tennis competition and the Blue Wave did the same to the Eagles in boys, but the end result remained the same.
P.K. Yonge won its sixth straight girls district tennis title while Oak Hall won its fourth straight boys crown on Tuesday at Westside Park, in what ended up being essentially a dual match between the two Gainesville schools in the five-school District 4-1A tournament.
For the Blue Wave girls, led by senior Jazz Whittaker, the defending state champion on the team side at No. 1 singles, won three of the five singles matches and swept the doubles to outpoint the Eagles 12-9. Both squads will advance to next week's regionals, with P.K. Yonge likely hosting at Westside Park and Oak Hall likely on the road.
Last year the Blue Wave finished third at the Class 1A state tournament at Red Bug Lake Park in Casselberry.
“It is definitely a goal to try to get in the top two,” said Blue Wave girls coach Robert Taylor. “We are striving to win it, but we are always trying to improve where we end at state. That is always the goal.”
Whittaker defeated Oak Hall's No. 1 Abagail Vlasek, 6-1, 6-2 while P.K. Yonge's No. 2 Kiah Turner downed the Eagles' Selin Yaylali, 6-1, 6-2. Oak Hall's Gaelin McLeod and Sophia Papa both posting singles victories, defeating the Blue Waves' Marcela Ifiu (2-6, 6-3, 6-1) and Madison Sagas (6-2, 6-3), respectively.
Darby Townsend picked up a big win at No. 5 for P.K. Yonge, rallying to beat Oak Hall's Alexis Mast, 2-6, 6-2, 7-5. The Blue Wave clinched it with its sweep in doubles, with Ifiu-Sagas rallying a set down to win No. 2, 1-6, 7-6 (7-4), 6-2.
“Our process is to win district, second step is to get through regionals and play well, and third step is doing the best we can and improving every year at state,” Taylor said. “I feel like we peak at the right time at postseason. We played some tough teams during the regular season. We set it up so we can play at our best level at postseason.”
In boys, Oak Hall won four of the five singles matches and also swept the doubles. Sophomore Logan Blaser, at No. 1, defeated P.K. Yonge's Quin Whittaker, 6-0, 6-3 while teammates Nick Springer (No. 3), Brandon Cooke (No. 4) and Nash Dean (No. 5) also won in straight sets against Blue Wave opponents.
The Eagles clinched the district title with Blaser and Aman Kabeer's 6-4, 6-3 No. 1 doubles victory over Whittaker and Ben Foster of P.K. Yonge. Springer and Cooke teamed up to complete the doubles sweep, outlasting the Blue Wave's Reid Wilson and Max Portillo, 2-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7-3).
“My No. 1 doubles team had a very competitive match, played a high caliber opponent and they played so well,” said Oak Hall boys coach John Dickinson. “I am especially proud of Aman Kabeer, who struggles with his nerves and poise when he is playing. He had a great match.
“Logan Blaser is someone we can count on and he is steady, solid and a very classy player, but Aman played super well today for us. And that carried us.”
The Eagles won the boys tournament with 12 points, followed by P.K. Yonge with 8.
Eastside wins District 5-2A
Eastside gave up just 10 games in sweeping all five singles and both doubles to run away with the boys title and the girls nearly did the same, winning their league title convincingly as the Rams swept the District 5-2A tournament at Crystal River High.
Hyunsoo Joo, Samuel Cockey, Camille Kima, Maxwell Curtis and Tabong Kima all cruised through dominating victories for Eastside in the boys singles. Joo teamed with Camille Kima to win the No. 1 doubles and Cockey partnered with Derek Li to capture No. 2 as the Rams repeated as league champs.
“The kids played well,” said Eastside boys coach Dave Porter. “The district is down this year. A lot of kids graduated from last year. We are very deep, and we are expecting to get stronger. I think we will get through regionals and have a good shot at placing higher at state this year.”
Last year, the Rams placed sixth at the Class 2A state tournament.
In the girls, Eastside won every match except No. 2 doubles. Emily Louie-Meadors, Allie Sourakov, Toni Veltcheva, Murielle LeMaire and Anqi Lee all posted dominating wins in singles. Louie-Meadors and Sourakov won 6-0, 6-0 in their No. 1 doubles match against Belleview's Lauren Bitter and Sarah Perkins.
“I'm really happy the girls performed the best to their ability,” said first-year Rams girls coach Tina Bassi. “It was an eye opening experience.
“We haven't played a lot of the district schools this season and didn't know what to expect. We were pleasantly surprised. We knew we had it in us. I'm glad we were able to pull it off.”
Both teams will host next week's regionals.