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District tennis: Fivay sweeps 2A-8 titles

NEW PORT RICHEY — Fivay swept the Class 2A, District 8 boys and girls tennis tournament titles Wednesday at River Ridge.

The Tarpon Springs girls claimed runnerup honors, but the boys will require another day of competition to determine who advances to region.

By winning their final matches Wednesday, Dunedin and Hudson earned spots alongside Gulf in a three-team round-robin tiebreaker, set for 2:45 today at River Ridge.

Gulf won both the No. 1 singles and doubles finals in walkovers as Fivay's Derek Balazy left for a national club hockey tournament. Balazy earned three points Tuesday, helping Fivay to an eventual total of 15, eight ahead of the second-place squads.

"You can't expect to pass up a national tournament for districts, and he was able to help us Tuesday," said Fivay coach Nikki Pollock, who added that Balazy will be back for next week's region event.

Most Gulf players had left the premises hours before the action concluded, none of the Bucs getting a singles victory outside of No. 1 Alex Walter, who is headed to state along with doubles partner Aakash Panjabi.

Hudson No. 2 Chris Mull earned the valuable final point Wednesday, beating Ridgewood's Sean Hoyt. "Tensions are high out here, but at least we kept our confidence," Mull said.

Dunedin got its key point from No. 4 Mike Schermerhorn, who lost three match points in dropping a second-set tiebreaker but bounced back to top Fivay's Chris Mancini.

Fivay's three titles were produced by No. 3 Luke Theede, No. 5 Michael O'Hara and Theede/Mancini at No. 2 doubles.

There was a chance for a tie in the girls bracket. Tarpon Springs needed a win in any of its three finals against Fivay to clinch, but Fivay's No. 4 and 5, Breanna Tonello and Alyssa Dierking, won easily. At No. 3 Ashleigh Day was pushed to a first-set tiebreaker before topping Tarpon Spring's Gina Szucs.

That meant the last match, No. 1 singles, was not only for an individual trip to the state tournament but it could have tied Hudson with Tarpon Springs. But Anclote's Sierra Yanez outlasted Hudson's Dominique Cirnigliaro 6-1 in the third set.

"I'm a little nervous, a little scared, but I think I'll do well," said Yanez, a senior making her first trip to state.

Cirnigliaro, a soccer star who only played five tennis matches because of a broken wrist, will go to state with Marisa Maksymkow in doubles. They surprised Fivay in the first round, a feat repeated by Cirnigliaro in singles. Those were Fivay's only defeats over the two days.

Fivay's girls totaled 15 points, Tarpon Springs nine, one more than Anclote and Hudson. Anclote's hopes were ended when No. 2 Nicole Gonzalez hurt her ankle in the finals and had to retire.

3A-5: Springstead boys lock repeat

LECANTO — Heat took a toll on the competitors at the Class 3A, District 5 tournament at Lecanto, forcing some players out and moving the double final to today, but Springstead clinched its second consecutive boys title anyway.

The Eagles reached the finals in each one of the seven brackets, singles and doubles, and have an insurmountable edge over current runnerup Ocala Forest. The Eagles, who had not won a district title in the school's 33-year history before last year, advanced as a team to region.

Freshman Alex Hoover (17-0) was the lone Eagle to win his individual final, at No. 4 singles.

No. 1 singles competitor Patrick Deslaurier (13-5) conceded his final by injury default because he was dehydrated. During the Springstead senior's semifinal against Lecanto's Rishi Gumani, the Panthers standout was forced to forfeit and hospitalized afterward because of heat exhaustion. Only minutes earlier, Deslaurier needed a medical timeout during the third-set tiebreaker.

"The heat was killing us," Springstead coach Joe Nicolai said. "With the kids playing four matches (in every bracket), the sun was taking its toll."

Because of time constraints and the heat concerns, the doubles finals will be played at 5 p.m. this evening.

The Springstead girls were eliminated from contention, with only two singles performers advancing past the first round. Senior Robyn Cotney (19-0) took the No. 3 singles crown, while No. 4 singles player Sara Guerrero (10-2) fell in the second round. Cotney and junior Scarlett Semack reached the doubles final before settling for runnerup.

"We've played in cold weather for so much of the season," Springstead coach Rick Scholl said. "Around 11 or 12 o'clock, it got really bad because there were no clouds overhead. It had to be over 100 degrees on the hardcourt."

Times correspondent Derek J. LaRiviere contributed to this report.

District tennis: Fivay sweeps 2A-8 titles 04/02/14 [Last modified: Wednesday, April 2, 2014 9:52pm]
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