Hillsborough senior Brian Kowalski is one win from the Class 3A team No. 2 singles title and could help his Terriers team to its second straight top-three state finish.
Kowalski, the No. 1 seed in the No. 2 singles draw, will face Pensacola Washington’s Reece Acree today in the championship match. Kowalski won his quarterfinal match Monday 6-2, 6-3 and was victorious in the semifinal 6-3, 6-4.
Hillsborough No. 1 Jack Murphy and No. 4 Greg Hasegawa won their first-round matches, giving the Terriers four points, one shy of Miami Belen Jesuit, which has just one match remaining, in third place.
Last season, Hillsborough was the Class 3A state runnerup.
“We knew there were all good teams coming in,” said Hillsborough coach Mark Palus. “I was hoping to be fourth or fifth but to be one point out of third, I’m happy with that.”
Kowalski will play his final at Sanlando Park at 8 a.m.
3A: Chiefs’ Mera drops first-round match
Chamberlain senior Nicole Mera lost her Class 3A individual singles first-round match to Olympic Heights junior Luisa Candido 6-1, 6-3. Mera is a two-time singles state qualifier who advanced to the semifinal round as a junior.
Mera and doubles teammate Lili Na’daslaki will open individual doubles play at 9:30 this morning at Sanlando Park.
A: CDS sophomore falls in semis
Carrollwood Day sophomore Eric Fitz-Randolph advanced to the individual singles semifinals before falling to undefeated defending state champion Dominic Cotrone of Bradenton Christian 6-4, 6-1.
Despite losing, Fitz-Randolph gave Cotrone, an FSU recruit currently ranked No. 5 in Florida at U18s, his biggest challenge of the day.
Fitz-Randolph dropped the first set of his quarterfinal match to win 3-6, 6-3, 6-4.
His younger sisters, CDS eighth-grader Jacque and sixth-grader Lauren, advanced to the semifinals with a 6-1, 6-2 win after a first-round bye. They will play at 10:30 this morning at Red Bug Park.
A: Jaguars can’t sustain hot start
Academy of the Holy Names’ second straight trip to the state team tournament ended quickly on Day 1.
No. 2 Caroline Lozo, No. 3 Paige Leavy and No. 5 Sarah Port won their first-round singles matches, but the Jaguars didn’t win another match after that.
Four out of the Jaguars’ top five players return but they lose No. 1 singles player Bianca Roberts.
“It was still a great performance by the team,” Holy Names coach Jonathan Collazo said. “We’re a young team so we can come back next year and make a better challenge.
A: Tampa Prep doubles team falters
Tampa Prep’s Patrick Stewart and Alan Williams started strong in their first-round individual doubles match, winning the first set, but couldn’t overcome an early second-set break and lost 3-6, 6-4, 6-1.
“We had several chances to get that break back but we couldn’t,” Tampa Prep coach Mark Hoekstra said. “We just weren’t playing smart doubles like we did in the first set.”