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Girls region tennis: Seasoned St. Petersburg sweeps youthful Newsome

ST. PETERSBURG — Tuesday's Class 4A region semifinal pitted experience vs. potential.

District champion St. Petersburg was looking for its third straight trip to the region finals. Newsome's entire lineup consisted of underclassmen.

St. Petersburg won all seven matches at the St. Petersburg Tennis Center.

"We just look like we're clicking now," St. Petersburg coach Todd St. Louis said. "We're hitting the ball well and not making mistakes."

St. Pete's Emily Dvorak won 6-2, 6-0 at No. 1 singles over Jackie Watson. Agatha Ambrozy was a 6-0, 6-2 winner over Jordan Lameier at No. 2. Sunshine Beba overcame a slow start to defeat Savannah Ewing 7-6 (7-4), 6-3 at No. 3, and Tiffany Easton won in straight sets, 6-3, 6-0, over Hannah Harkins at No. 5.

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. St. Petersburg won both doubles matches by forfeit.

3A: Gibbs digs deep

ST. PETERSBURG — They only have five players. And one almost had to retire from dehydration and another had to split right after the match because she was ill, yet Gibbs survived to play another day. Gibbs took four of five singles matches from Chamberlain, enough to pull out a 4-3 win and advance to Thursday's region final at King.

The Gladiators have sent individuals to state, but despite district wins the past three seasons have never gotten past the first round of region matchups.

"I hope this will be the year I get to take all my girls to state," coach Bonita Holmes said. "These girls have played hard for me for four years, and we always seem to come up short a match."

After No. 3 Ebony Lamar, No. 4 Lucic Petrova and No. 5 Masani Bailey rolled to surprisingly quick wins, it came down to Brooklyn transfer Akilah James.

Using a nasty inside-out forehand and precise shot making, James clinched the match by beating Chamberlain's Nicole Mera 6-1, 6-2 at No. 1 singles.

A: SPC looks sharp

SEMINOLE — St. Petersburg Catholic is one step from another state tournament appearance, defeating St. Stephen's 6-1 at Seminole Lakes Country Club.

Julia Jones, Alyssa Bellini, Jerica Coley and Molly Smith each recorded straight-set singles victories to clinch. St. Stephen's forfeited the doubles.

"I thought the girls played exceptionally well today," coach Brett Hayman said. "We have played this team a few times before and today we came out real strong."

The Barons have placed fourth and third in recent trips to state.

4A: PHU shut down

Plant, last year's 3A state champ, beat Palm Harbor University 7-0 at Cal Dickson Tennis Center.

3A: Largo dispatched

At Temple Terrace, King needed only 90 minutes to win the first four singles matches and clinch a 7-0 triumph over Largo.

A: Northside ousted

Northside fell in four of five singles matches in a 5-2 loss at Out-of-Door. Northside's lone singles win came at No. 5 when Kerri Gallagher defeated Savannah Sleight 6-1, 6-4. Northside won No. 2 doubles by default.

Times staff writers John C. Cotey, Joey Knight and Eduardo A. Encina and correspondent Corey Long contributed to this report.

. Up next

Regional, Round 2

All matches Thursday at 3

4A: Plant at St. Petersburg

3A: Gibbs at King

A: St. Petersburg Catholic at Sarasota Out-of-Door

Girls region tennis: Seasoned St. Petersburg sweeps youthful Newsome 04/21/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, April 21, 2010 1:10am]

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