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State tennis: Wiregrass junior gets close; Sharks knocked out

By simply stepping onto the court Wednesday at Sanford's Sylvan Lake Park, Wiregrass Ranch junior Sydney Simpson made history.

Then she nearly made the second round.

The first Bulls player — boy or girl — to qualify for the state tournament, Simpson couldn't sustain her early momentum in a 6-0, 3-6, 0-6 loss to Fort Myers Bishop Verot's Linda Komienko in the opening round of the Class 2A individual singles tournament.

"It was a combination of nerves a little bit, and experience," Bulls coach Tammy Shaw said. "It's a little scary the first time you're out there and don't know what to expect. She's a little disappointed but we were proud of her."

Nature Coast's girls, meantime, suffered a similar fate in the team portion of the tournament. Tossed into a field loaded with private schools and academies, the Sharks failed to advance any of their five singles players or two doubles teams out of the first round.

The No. 1 doubles tandem of senior Rachel Conter and junior Olivia Williams came closest to advancing, falling in two sets including a tiebreaker defeat in the second.

Williams and Conter, two-time district champions, advanced to the individual 2A doubles tourney in 2008.

"I told our girls it took us seven years to get a whole team to states," Sharks coach Louise Downey said. "Now we've got to give ourselves several years to go ahead and get some significant wins at the state level."

State tennis: Wiregrass junior gets close; Sharks knocked out 04/29/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, April 29, 2009 11:02pm]
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