SPRING HILL — Less than a week after the first district titles in Springstead history, the Eagles boys and girls were ousted from the postseason.
The boys put up an amazing battle against Forest in the Class 3A region semifinals Tuesday. The teams went back and forth, with everything coming down to the third set of the No. 2 doubles match.
While Patrick Deslaurier and Carl Zee overcame a slow start and began to cruise in their match against the Wildcats’ Philip Libby and Grant Lovell. Deslaurier and Zee came in with a 13-2 record and regardless of the result would be making the trip to state because of their district doubles title.
Libby and Lovell (9-5) lost 2-6, 7-6 (8-6), 6-2 as the other two tandems looked on periodically.
“You don’t want to look over there too much,” Hank Deslaurier said. “It can take you out of your game. You have to focus and do the best you can.”
Hank Deslaurier and Robert Hoover lost the first set 6-4 but bounced back to win the second 2-6.
Down 5-3 in the third, Deslaurier and Hoover faced match point at 40-30. The duo rebounded to break serve and tie things at 5-5. However, Forest’s Nick Wigelsworth and Tanner Weaver persisted and forced four match points before clinching victory at 7-5.
“If there was a spot where we could have done better, it would have been the first set,” Hoover said. “We came out a little slow, and it cost us.”
In singles, Zee took out Wigelsworth in straight sets, 6-3, 6-1. While Hank Deslaurier took the only other singles win for the Eagles with a straight sets victory over Palmer Lovell, 7-6 (7-4), 6-2.
The girls were eliminated in quicker fashion as Lecanto won 4-2.
The teams did not finish the No. 2 doubles match because the Panthers had clinched with their dominant No. 1 doubles win.
“This team has come a long way,” Springstead coach Sammie Hall said. “I am very proud of these girls. We went from 4-10 last year to the school’s first district title this year. This is something we can build on.”
Most gratifying for Springstead were the performances of Robyn Cotney and Ashley Clark, who captured the only two points with their singles victories. The wins also concluded undefeated seasons for both.
Clark (11-0) beat Andrea De la Cruz (3-2) in the No. 5 position 6-3, 6-1. Cotney (18-0) competed in the No. 4 spot, defeating Lecanto’s Megan Jervis (8-4) 6-1, 6-2.
For the second season in a row, Nature Coast was swept by Gainesville Eastside, 7-0 in Class 2A.
Connor Schwefringhaus put up one of the best efforts against Samuel Cockey. Still, the sophomore No. 2 fell in straight sets 6-2, 6-2.
The No. 1 doubles tandem of Jesse DeWitt and Schwefringhaus also put up a battle against Hyunsoo Joo and Camille Kima, falling 6-2, 6-3.
Also traveling to Gainesville to face Eastside, Hernando’s girls faced an uphill road.
The Rams didn’t sweep, but the 6-1 victory was highlighted only by Lida Marie Steinkamp’s victory in No. 3 singles. Steinkamp, who won the district title at No. 3 singles, knocked off Antonia Veltcheva (6-6).
Hernando senior Shelby Marrero lost for only the second time all season.