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Tennis: St. Petersburg's depth tough to match

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Thu. March 1, 2012 | Rodney Page | Email

CLEARWATER — St. Petersburg’s boys tennis team has been the school to beat in Pinellas County for several years. The Green Devils showed why Thursday afternoon against Countryside.

Despite losing its No. 1 singles match, St. Petersburg swept the four other singles and two doubles matches to defeat the Cougars 6-1. The match was St. Petersburg’s 48th straight regular-season win against county schools.

The Green Devils’ regular No. 1 player, Robert Dvorak, was a late scratch from his singles match because he was not feeling well. Dylan Sleszynski moved up and had to face sophomore Jordan Monosky. Monosky stayed unbeaten this season with an 8-3 win.

But St. Petersburg’s strength is depth. Matt Kopleman won his No. 2 match 8-3 over Shane Berendt. Danny Zakria defeated Ryan Machado 8-5 in the No. 3 match, Kyle Bulleit won his No. 4 match over Chris James 8-4 and Carl Gallauer defeated Juan Amado 8-5 in the No. 5 match.

The Green Devils (8-0) sealed the win before doubles were played.

“The X factor for us today was Matt (Kopleman),” St. Petersburg coach Todd St. Louis said. “He played really well. And our three, four and five players all play about the same. We have some good depth.”

In the doubles matches, Dvorak felt well enough to team with Sleszynski to help defeat Monosky and Machado 8-4. In No. 2 doubles, Bulleit and Zakria defeated Dylan Ogles and James 8-0.

The girls match was basically over before it started. Countryside was forced to play without three of its top players. Alexandra Kitchen, the Cougars’ top player, could not play because of tendinitis in her right wrist. Two others, Dana Harris and Abigail Mills, were on a field trip to South Carolina.

That forced Ashleigh Collis to move up to No. 1 singles and play St. Petersburg’s Agatha Ambrozy, one of the top players in the county. Ambrozy won 8-0. The Green Devils’ Melanie Gray beat Ashley Reese 8-0 in No. 2 singles. Emily Hays beat Countryside’s Mary Trepany 8-0 in No. 3 singles.

Countryside did not have enough players for Nos. 4 or 5 singles.

“We were a little short-handed today,” Countryside coach Scott Kitchen said. “We tried to see if we could reschedule it, but we couldn’t work it out.”

In girls doubles, St. Petersburg’s Ann Garcia and Robyn Perry defeated Collis and Reese 8-0.

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