Four area tennis teams move to regional finals
Published: Tuesday, April 9, 2013 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, April 10, 2013 at 12:11 a.m.
Gainesville boys tennis team looked every bit like a state contender in Tuesday's regional semifinal rout of New Port Richey Mitchell at Northeast Park, but the Hurricanes weren't the only ones making an impression.
Both Eastside's boys and girls teams picked up convincing wins to advance to Thursday's regional finals. The Rams boys dominated Brooksville Nature Coast, 7-0, at Jonesville Tennis Center while the girls beat Brooksville Hernando, 6-1, at Northside Park.
And the P.K. Yonge girls, led by defending No. 1 team state champion Jazz Whittaker, are back in the regional finals, beating familiar foe Jacksonville Trinity Christian, 5-2.
Gainesville, unbeaten on the season and looking to improve on its No. 3 finish at state from a year ago, wasted little time in dispatching Mitchell, 7-0. Both No. 1 Zach Goldberg and No. 2 Cole Fiegel didn't give up a game in beating Daniel Lukish and Greg Hovsepian, with No. 3 Pete Slaton, a defending 3A state champion, giving up just one game in a convincing win over Tony Nguyen.
All told, the Hurricanes gave up just eight games in seven matches and will play host to Ocala Forest on Thursday for a spot in the state finals.
“We were just too strong for them,” said longtime GHS coach Paul Spradling. “They had a few pretty good players, but none were as strong as Zach, Cole and Peter. After doubles and the No. 5 singles (a convincing win by GHS freshman Jay Leshan), they were already down 3-0. They couldn't lose one more match at that point.”
Eastside, which finished sixth in last year's 2A state boys tournament, cruised over Nature Coast as freshman No. 1 Hyunsoo Joo and sophomore No. 3 Camille Kima also didn't give up a game in posting convincing wins. The Rams' No. 2 Samuel Cockey, No. 4 Maxwell Curtis and No. 5 Tabong Kima also won in straight sets.
“We had more experience than they had,” said Eastside boys coach Dave Porter. “That was the main difference. I'm pretty happy with the way we are playing. I do think we are improving.”
The Rams' girls team, which hasn't been in the regional finals in a while, will host Belleview on Thursday. Eastside were led by shutout wins by freshman No. 1 Emily Louie-Meadors and No. 2 junior Alexandra Sourakov. The two also paired up to post a shutout in No. 1 doubles.
“They were aggressive at the net,” said Rams' first-year coach Tina Bassi. “We had some not so good shots, but they regained their focus. We look forward to Thursday.”
The P.K. Yonge girls, who finished third in last year's Class 1A state tournament, look to improve on that showing this season. Facing the Conquerors in the regional semifinals had sort of become a tradition of late, and for the second straight season, the Blue Wave came on top.
“I think we had a better team at the top,” said P.K. Yonge coach Robert Taylor. “We came up with the goods when we needed to in the postseason.”
The Blue Wave put pressure on after picking up doubles wins at No. 1 (Whittaker-Kiah Turner) and No. 2 (Madison Sagas-Marcela Ifju)
P.K. Yonge will travel to Jacksonville Episcopal, which pulled out a 4-3 win over Oak Hall on Tuesday. These two schools faced each other in last year's regional final, with the Blue Wave winning 5-2.
“I think overall we should be able to with our No. 1 and No. 2 playing at No. 1 doubles and getting three solid wins from them,” Taylor said. “Hopefully we can pull that off. They are solid team, we will have to play well to beat them.”
Among the disappointing ends on the season was Buchholz girls, which went unbeaten during the regular season. But Spruce Creek, which has reached the state finals the last nine seasons, came to the Bobcat courts and won four of the five singles for a 4-1 win.
“It's disappointing,” said Buchholz girls coach Mary Cribb. “Spruce Creek was just the better team today. But we will be back next year.”
Bobcat freshman No. 1 Kendal Wilby, who beat Hawks' No. 1 player Meghan Zimmer, 6-2, 6-0, will be going to state next week in Altamonte Springs, as will junior Courtney Cribb, who teams with Wiley as the district champion in No. 1 doubles.
Both Oak Hall boys and girls teams fell on Tuesday, although the Eagles girls nearly pulled out a victory in Jacksonville. Oak Hall boys fell 6-1 to Jacksonville Providence.
“This team finished second in their district and kind of handed it to us,” said Eagles' boys coach John Dickinson. “We had a great season. We have a very young team, who I am proud of. We played well, we just played a better team today.”
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