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Girls region tennis: Plant closes in on return trip to state

McKenzie O’Brien hits a backhand, en route to winning at No. 2 singles for Chamberlain. But the Chiefs fell 4-3 as a team to Gibbs.

DIRK SHADD | Times

McKenzie O’Brien hits a backhand, en route to winning at No. 2 singles for Chamberlain. But the Chiefs fell 4-3 as a team to Gibbs.

TAMPA — Plant's first-round Class 4A regional against Palm Harbor University was moved up an hour.

Given how easily the Panthers dispatched the Hurricanes on Tuesday, anyone showing up at the original start time would have missed most of the action.

The Panthers, last year's Class 3A state champs, won 7-0 at Cal Dickson Tennis Center. No. 4 Carol Marie Fraley and No. 5 Morgan Nolan didn't lose a game, winning 6-0, 6-0, and

Plant's top three, No. 1 Amber Li (6-1, 6-3), No. 2 Blair Martin (6-2, 6-0) and No. 3 Claire Mitchell Andrews (6-1, 6-2) also won easily.

"It feels like we're getting really close," Li said. "Most of us, except for Blair (a freshman) were here last year, so we all know each other really well and what to expect from each other."

4A: Wolves blanked

ST. PETERSBURG — St. Petersburg overwhelmed young but talented Newsome, winning all seven matches at the St. Petersburg Tennis Center.

The tightest result came at No. 4, where Courtney Howard outlasted Alaina Ewing 7-5, 3-6, 7-6 (7-3) in a three-hour, 10-minute match.

3A: Lions cruise

At Temple Terrace, King needed only 90 minutes to win the first four singles matches and clinch a 7-0 triumph over Largo to set up Thursday's 3A region final against Gibbs.

Freshman Rachael Adler and seniors Evelyn Qi, Preetha Kamath and Amber Mirajkar coasted to brisk straight-sets victories at Nos. 1, 2, 3 and 4.

Adler improved to 13-2 with a 6-2, 6-1 triumph against Megan Lauser. Collectively, the top four Lions surrendered only 12 games to the Packers. Sophomore Susan Huang faced the only serious challenge, earning a 6-1, 4-6, 6-0 win against Gabby Emery at No. 5.

Both Lions doubles teams earned pro-set triumphs.

3A: Chiefs fall

ST. PETERSBURG — Despite finishing as district runnerup, Chamberlain coach Bill Workman felt good about his team's chances to possibly get another crack at King in the playoffs.

But Gibbs took four of five singles matches in a region semifinal, pulling off a mild upset 4-3.

"I was surprised," Workman said. "They were really athletic. …but I thought we could pull it out in doubles."

No. 2 McKenzie O'Brien won her match, but the Chiefs fell in surprisingly quick straight-set wins at 3, 4 and 5.

It came down to No. 1 Nicole Mera, but she was unable to stop Gibbs' Akilah James and force two meaningful doubles matches.

Instead, James' 6-1, 6-2 victory clinched it for Gibbs.

2A: Warriors prevail

At Lutz, first-year Steinbrenner moved within a dual match of state with a 5-2 triumph against Bradenton Bayshore. The Warriors host Englewood Lemon Bay, a winner over Spoto, on Thursday.

Coach Karen Olson's team (11-1) got straight-sets singles victories from No. 1 Kaleigh Wagner, No. 3 Carli Schwartz, No. 4 Natalia Campos and No. 5 Taylor Brannan. Schwartz and Campos also teamed for an 8-1 pro-set victory at No. 2 doubles.

A: Jaguars sweep

At Hillsborough Community College, Holy Names coasted to a 7-0 victory over Lakeland Christian. Bianca Roberts, Caroline Lozo, Christina Socias, Christine Holcomb and Sarah Port earned singles triumphs for the Jaguars. The Roberts-Lozo and Socias-Port doubles teams also prevailed.

A: TC ousted

WINTER HAVEN — All Saints' No. 3 Emily Bandyk outlasted Tampa Catholic's Suzanne Peterson, 6-7, 6-3, 6-2, in a three-hour, 20-minute marathon in a key match that helped All Saints' edge Tampa Catholic 4-3.

Times staff writers Bryan Burns and Joey Knight and the Lakeland Ledger contributed to this report.

. Up next

Regional, Round 2

All matches Thursday at 3

4A: Plant at St. Petersburg (St. Pete Tennis Center)

3A: Gibbs at King (Temple Terrace)

2A: Lemon Bay at

Steinbrenner (Heritage Harbor)

A: All Saints' at Holy Names

Girls region tennis: Plant closes in on return trip to state 04/20/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, April 21, 2010 1:07am]

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