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ST. PETERSBURG — Shorecrest’s girls were on the brink of elimination during the No. 2 doubles match.
And Sydney Clavans and Evie Sobczak were on the brink of exhaustion.
The Chargers’ doubles partners were down 3-0 in the final set. But the steely nerved pair refused to let the deficit haunt them. Instead, deep into the third and final set Tuesday, Clavans and Sobczak dared their opponents, Sarasota Out-of-Door’s Callen Malone and Liz McGahey, to keep striking winners.
Malone and McGahey depleted their energy as they tried to survive in the match. Clavans and Sobczak kept charging all over the court to seize control and win 2-6, 6-4, 6-3.
That helped Shorecrest move on to the next round of regionals with a 4-3 victory.
“The girls knew we had to win at the end,” Chargers coach Matt Litsky said. “In No. 2 doubles they were consistent and put balls on the court and in play.”
It was a day when rackets and wills flashed in the late afternoon sun on the St. Petersburg Tennis Center court.
In singles, Shorecrest’s Savanna Roy (No. 2) and Evie Sobczak (No. 3) each won. But the Chargers let leads in the final set of two singles matches get away. The final one came at No. 1 singles when Kathryn Komonicki was unable to hold on to a 3-1 lead in the third and final set of a 4-6, 7-5, 6-4 loss that lasted nearly three hours.
Trailing 3-2 after singles, the Chargers had to win both doubles matches in order to take the team title.
In No. 1 doubles, Shorecrest’s tandem of Komornicki and Roy remained undefeated by beating Kerekes and Savanna Sleigh 7-6, 6-2.
“Kathryn lost a tough one in singles, but she was able to come back strong in doubles,” Litsky said.
That set the stage for the final match. After losing the first set, Clavans and Sobczak found their feet and their range on the court as they were able to spray forehands and cover each other effectively.
AHN earns solid win
Even without senior No. 1 singles player Bianca Roberts, who was nursing a wrist injury, Academy of the Holy Names put together an impressive 7-0 win over Lakeland Christian in a Class A region match.
Caroline Lozo moved to the No. 1 singles spot and earned a 6-0, 6-0 win. No. 2 Paige Leavy (6-1, 6-0), No. 3 Christine Holcomb (7-5, 6-2) also won in straight sets, while No. 4 Sarah Port survived a first-set tiebreak to earn a 7-6 (7-4), 6-3 win.
Casey Pluchino, normally Holy Names’ No. 6 player, moved into the top five and earned an impressive 6-0, 6-3 win.
“I think as a team they looked at the bigger picture,” Holy Names coach Jonathan Collazo said. “Basically without our top player, we still managed to get the win. Everyone was ready to play. I was impressed with Casey. She knew her moment could come. I had been talking about it all year. They played like they will have to next year.”
Eduardo A. Encina, Times staff writer
CCC stumbles vs. St. Stephen's
BRADENTON — It’s safe to assume St. Stephen’s set up Tuesday’s victory by doing the grunt work last week.
The Falcons’ girls team rolled past Clearwater Central Catholic 5-0 at the Class A regional at the Falcons Tennis Center, needing roughly an hour to advance to Thursday’s championship match.
A first-round home match against a district runnerup was St. Stephen’s reward for winning the District 10 title last week.
The Falcons left little to doubt Tuesday — all five of their singles players won in straight sets, eliminating the need for doubles.
It was the antithesis of last season, when the Falcons advanced to region play as runnerup and lost four out of five singles matches to St. Petersburg Catholic.
“We have big hopes for going to state this year,” said Perri Anderson, who won 6-1, 6-2 over the Marauders’ Stephanie Cruz at No. 1 singles Tuesday. “It was very important (to get a home match). It was nice to have the support, and to have our friends come out and watch.”
Anderson and Co. gave them plenty to cheer for. Jennifer Sundstrom (No. 2), Hailey Nicklin (3), Caroleena Dowling (4) and Annie Brey (5) rolled, putting the Falcons a win away from their fourth region championship and second in three years.
Berkeley Prep’s Sara Tuhentag took the first set from All Saints’ No. 1 Erika Fox in the Class A regional, but Fox won the next two sets 7-5, 6-2 to lead a 5-0 sweep of the Buccaneers in Winter Haven.