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A-8 tennis: Academy of Holy Names senior Christina Socias comes through

TAMPA — Christina Socias spent the weekend thinking a lot about the Class A, District 8 tennis tournament. She played the matches over and over again in her head. It was days away, but mentally, the Academy of Holy Names senior was already there.

And that was before her coach told her she would have to win the most important match of the tournament for the Jaguars to capture the championship.

But Thursday at Hillsborough Community College, Socias ignored the pressure and reversed two regular-season losses to provide the Jaguars with the winning margin.

The Jaguars had 20 points, while Tampa Catholic took second with 18, followed by Tampa Prep (15) and Berkeley Prep (15).

Holy Names was 10-0 in the regular season, but the district was hotly contested — the Jaguars beat Tampa Prep and Berkeley Prep twice, but by 4-3 scores each time.

Berkeley Prep rolled the field on the boys side, going head-to-head with Tampa Prep in every final and winning them all as Nathan Graddy, Eric Fitz-Randolph, Zach Ayers and Nikita Leonov all won in straight sets; James Kennedy needed three sets to win at No. 5 singles.

The girls tournament wasn't nearly as convincing, but Socias was able to avenge a three-set regular-season loss to Cambridge's Grace Keen to win the title at No. 3 singles 6-3, 6-3 then teamed with Sarah Port to make the No. 2 doubles final.

But their first doubles match was the biggest. Socias and Port beat Tampa Prep's Izabelle Baskette and Torrie Edwards — after losing to them in the regular season — 7-5, 6-4, costing the Terrapins much-needed points.

"It was the (most important) match of the tournament," Holy Names coach Allen Liberato said. "When I saw the seedings on Thursday, I decided to wait until Monday to tell her."

Socias said that once the matches began, she paid little attention to anything else.

"He was trying to play it down, but we obviously knew it was big," Socias said. "Tennis is such a mental game, and I think I stepped it up mentally (Thursday)."

A-8 tennis: Academy of Holy Names senior Christina Socias comes through 04/15/10 [Last modified: Thursday, April 15, 2010 10:59pm]
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