Sunday, June 24, 2018
Sports

District tennis contenders

With district tournaments starting Monday, it looks as if the usual suspects will make a run at the state tournament. But don't count out a few newcomers.

Top contenders

Countryside's boys and East Lake's girls won their PCAC championship matches and take momentum into postseason play.

Countryside (13-0) stopped St. Petersburg's four-year run as the PCAC champion with a solid top three and two undefeated doubles teams.

Senior Jordan Monosky was 12-1 as the No. 1 singles player. No. 2 Aaron Carey, a sophomore, was 13-0, and junior Martin Lukosiunas was 8-0 at No. 3.

The No. 1 doubles team of Monosky and Lukosiunas and the No. 2 team of Carey and Chandler Walker also were undefeated.

St. Petersburg and Countryside will meet again in districts.

The Green Devils have a highly competitive top five of Carl Callauer, John Johnson, Devan Upadhyay, Dan Segundo and Vikas Molleti.

Then there is East Lake's girls. Angel Deng, last year's Times Player of the Year, is back at No. 1 singles. Kimberly Herrock, Rehaana Butt, Elizabeth Maher and Meredith Aebersold round out a strong top five.

East Lake advanced to regions last season and looks poised to do so again.

Dark horses

Dixie Hollins has vastly improved. The Rebels were unable to field a team when coach Rob Romain took over three years ago, but the squad has grown to 16 girls and nine boys. The girls, who won only one match last season, are 11-3, the boys 9-5.

Sophomore Zoe Basheska is the top girls player and teams with Patsy Eichman to form a competitive doubles team.

The Rebels have a chance to make some noise in a tough 3A-10 district that includes Osceola, Sarasota and Venice. Romain credits hard work and volunteer coach Bobby Musengva for turning the program around.

"I know three years ago the kids were laughed at for playing tennis at Dixie," Romain said. "Now we have students come out and watch us play."

Pinellas Park's girls had one of their best seasons ever. The Pat­riots (12-2) won the south division of the PCAC. To get to the championship match, they had to defeat nemesis St. Petersburg.

The Patriots are led by top player Ana Olsen and No. 2 Thanatchaporn Srichaphan, who also are a formidable doubles team.

"We're just a bunch of high school players who work really hard," coach Hollie Miller said. "We don't have the junior circuit players. They just play high school tennis, and they are very dedicated.''

Getting out of 4A-8 will not be easy. The district is loaded with East Lake, Palm Harbor University, Sarasota Riverview, Seminole and St. Petersburg.

Private school power

Speaking of loaded, Clearwater Central Catholic's girls and boys could have a good run. The girls are undefeated (12-0). Sophomore Isabella Dohse has played No. 1 singles for most of the season. Katherine Yang and Delaney Abood also have played well.

Joao Teixiera, Parker Hayslett and Tyler Berning led the boys to a 10-2 record. CCC is in a tough district, A-7, that includes Tampa Prep and Berkeley Prep.

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