Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

State tennis preview

ST. PETERSBURG — To say the St. Petersburg Catholic girls tennis team has been beating opponents doesn't accurately reflect the level of their domination.

Mauling seems more appropriate.

Bludgeoning, perhaps?

In waltzing through the regular season undefeated and qualifying for its third straight Class 2A state tournament — first-round action for the Barons begins Wednesday at Red Bug Lake Park — SPC has yet to play anyone close to its level this season. The Barons, who did not lose more than one match at any competition this season, have rarely been challenged.

The state tournament, however, has a habit of exposing the flaws in good teams.

"The step up in competition to the state tournament is pretty severe," Barons coach Brett Hayman said. "But, our girls are not going to be intimidated."

Of the Barons' top five singles players, only one — Molly Smith at No. 5 singles — lost a regular-season match. Julia Jones (No. 1 singles), Jerica Coley (3), Danielle Nickerson (4) and Smith (5) all rolled through the region competition, winning their singles matches at love.

The Barons, sans Jones, finished fourth at state the past two seasons, highlighted by Smith winning the No. 4 singles bracket last year. Six of the eight state finalists from last season return, including defending champ American Heritage and Naples, a team the Barons defeated 6-1 during the regular season.

With Jones headlining SPC's lineup, the Barons feel a state title is within reach.

"Molly showed the girls that they can win. She won the title at No. 4 and she's playing No. 5," Hayman said. "I think the girls know that they can play with anybody."

Other teams vying for state titles:

Seminole girls: Seminole's best hope for points will come from the top of its lineup, where freshman No. 1 singles player Amy Lowther has the ability to make a deep run. The Warhawks' No. 2, Tara Lynn Carey, won her bracket at district and is undefeated in the postseason. She combines with Lowther to give the Warhawks a formidable top doubles team.

Seminole boys: The Warhawks return to the state tournament, where they won just one match last season — Alex Schultz defeated his opponent from Seabreeze in the No. 4 singles bracket (Schultz plays No. 2 singles this season). Seminole wouldn't be here if not for its No. 2 doubles team of Tyler Bennion and Adam Norris, who were down a break at 5-3 in the third set but rallied to win four straight games in the last match of the region final against Dunedin.

Shorecrest boys: Garrett Betsarakis, Shorecrest's top player, made it all the way to the final of the No. 1 singles bracket last season before falling in a third-set tiebreaker. He will try to win it all this year. Matt Smith, at No. 2, was the only other Shorecrest player to record a point as the team finished in a fifth-place tie with three points. Smith won his first-round singles match at No. 3 last year.

Singles qualifiers


Michael Beiler, Dunedin: Avenged a loss to Ryan Frazier (Osceola) in last season's 3A-7 final by beating Frazier 6-1, 6-3 this year.

Robbie Nichols, Lakewood: Senior with exceptional court coverage. Nichols played No. 1 two seasons ago when Lakewood advanced to state as a team.


Morgan Basil, Shorecrest: Basil advanced to the semifinals of the No. 1 singles bracket in 2007.

Emily Dvorak, St. Petersburg: Dvorak will play her first singles match at state thanks to a 6-3, 6-4 win over highly ranked Erin Snook at the district tournament.

Lindsay Hodgdon, Gibbs: Hodgdon is hoping for better luck this go-round after getting blanked in the first round last year.

Doubles qualifiers


Robbie Nichols/Nick Voce, Lakewood: Defeated Northeast's Trevor Van Lede-Zinn and Kyle Simon 6-2, 6-1 to qualify.

Michael Beiler/Admir Tabak, Dunedin: Beiler and Tabak were straight-sets winners in the 3A-7 final.

Luke Burton/Brad Carver, St. Petersburg Catholic: Two players that have made tremendous strides. Burton was the Barons' No. 5 last season and Carver didn't start.


Laura Ospina/Raquel Moya, East Lake: East Lake failed to advance as a team after making state the past three seasons. Ospina and Moya are the Eagles' lone participants.

Jibri Bailey/Dianeka Perrien, Gibbs: Gibbs seniors looking to close out career on top.

Morgan Basil/Kathryn Komarnicki, Shorecrest: Komarnicki is making her first appearance at the state tournament.

Emily Dvorak/Agatha Ambrozy, St. Petersburg: Last season, Dvorak teamed with her sister Lindsay to win the individual doubles bracket at state.

State tennis

Admission: Free


Class 3A and 4A: Sanlando Park and Lake Brantley High (Orlando)

Class A and 2A: Red Bug Lake Park and Sylvan Lake Park (Sanford)


Class A and 3A

Monday: First-round team singles, 8 a.m.; first-round individual singles, 9:15 a.m.; first-round individual doubles, 11:15 a.m.

Tuesday: Team singles finals, 8 a.m.; team doubles semifinals and finals, individual singles finals and individual doubles semifinals and finals to follow.

Wednesday: Overall singles final, 8 a.m.; overall doubles final to follow.

Class 2A and 4A

Wednesday: First-round team singles, 8 a.m.; first-round individual singles, 9:15 a.m.; first-round individual doubles, 11:15 a.m.

Thursday: Team singles finals, 8 a.m.; team doubles semifinals and finals, individual singles finals and individual doubles semifinals and finals to follow.

Friday: Overall singles final, 8 a.m.; overall doubles final to follow.

State tennis preview 04/25/09 [Last modified: Saturday, April 25, 2009 11:14pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Rays journal: Erasmo Ramirez ready to start a day after closing game

    The Heater

    MINNEAPOLIS — RHP Erasmo Ramirez was on the mound to finish Sunday's 15-inning marathon win over the Twins and will start tonight's game against the Rangers.

    The Rays’ Erasmo Ramirez throws 12 pitches in the 15th inning against the Twins to earn the save then says after the game that he’s ready to make his scheduled start against the Rangers: “My arm feels good.”
  2. Rays exhausted but happy after 15-inning win over Twins (w/video)

    The Heater

    MINNEAPOLIS — Before the Rays eventually won Sunday's 6½-hour, 15-inning marathon against the Twins 8-6, they did plenty to lose it. And we need to get that out of the way first.

    The Rays’ Evan Longoria enjoys a laugh after scoring, barely, to tie it in the ninth on Steven Souza Jr.’s two-out single.
  3. Tom Jones' Two Cents: ABC's Indy 500 coverage is stellar again

    TV and Radio

    Times columnist Tom Jones looks back at the best and worst from a weekend of televised sports.

    Best coverage

    Takuma Sato left, celebrates after winning the Indianapolis 500 as Helio Castroneves is a little late passing him. ABC’s coverage of the race is stellar throughout, with plenty of extras but no fake drama.
  4. Takuma Sato surprise winner of wreck-filled Indy 500

    Auto racing

    INDIANAPOLIS — Takuma Sato, a journeyman driver, became the first Japanese winner of the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday when he held off three-time champion Helio Castroneves in a 230-mph wheel-rubbing duel to the finish.

    Scott Dixon’s car goes over the top of Jay Howard, soaring so high that Helio Castroneves drove under it while it was airborne. Stunningly, there were no serious injuries.
  5. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Sunday's Rays-Twins game

    The Heater

    The Rays won because they got two innings of good relief from each of the two pitchers who contributed to them losing Saturday's game, Danny Farquhar (who again struck out Miguel Sano) and Tommy Hunter, who both posted zeroes.