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)

Tennis: Nothing is for sure in 3A-9 tourney

Land O’Lakes, led by David Dollbaum, has lost only once this season — to Wiregrass Ranch — entering today’s match against Pasco.


Land O’Lakes, led by David Dollbaum, has lost only once this season — to Wiregrass Ranch — entering today’s match against Pasco.

LAND O'LAKES — There's a relative order to the Pasco County tennis landscape, and it starts with Wiregrass Ranch. Land O'Lakes sits right behind the Bulls, who have dealt both the Gator boys and girls their only defeat this season.

So with district tournaments next week and two teams advancing to regions, the logical step would be projecting the Gators to move on.

But that would be trying to predict the Class 3A, District 9 tournament. And that looks to be a foolhardy endeavor.

The first-time mix of four Pasco County teams and six Hills­borough squads is the start to the uncertainty, but it extends to the playing surface, the upcoming draw — and Wiregrass missing its top two boys.

Play starts Monday morning at Hillsborough Community College. But first comes what should be an eventful seeding meeting Friday afternoon.

"It really will be the luck of the draw," Gators boys coach Jasalyn Gerazounis said.

"It will be difficult to argue for your player (seeding) because Pasco County schools only face other Pasco schools during the season, Hillsborough teams play each other, and never the two shall meet."

Three of the 10 players in each bracket will earn a seed based on rankings. Then it's up for grabs. The fourth-best player could get drawn against the No. 1 seed while the fifth-best could get an easier opponent and a better chance to earn a team point.

Land O'Lakes girls coach Karen Turman, the district tournament director, spent Wednesday writing players' names on tennis balls. Yes, that's how the draw will be conducted.

Then the fun really begins. Wiregrass Ranch, Land O'Lakes, Mitchell and Sunlake are the Pasco squads with Hillsborough's Chamberlain, Freedom, Gaither, Middleton, Robinson and Spoto.

But they won't be alone. Two other districts will hold their tournaments at the same time. And 3A-8 (an all-Hillsborough district) got dibs on the hard courts, putting the Pasco teams on clay. Pasco County teams never play on clay.

"I was able to get them out there for one practice day last week, and the response from the girls was, 'What? It isn't red?' " Turman said. "No, this is not the red clay of Paris. Clay is a whole new thing. They don't know how to slide on it."

Fortunately for the Gators, their No. 1 player does. Kayva Avancha has played in several tournaments and gave her teammates — Nos. 2-5 Deneen Wang, Sophie Pawlak, Anne Schwartz and Joslyn LaFond — some pointers. Avancha's focus is on earning a rematch with Brianna Miah. Wiregrass' No. 1 barely topped Avancha 7-5, 2-6, 6-4 recently.

"I was a little nervous at first," Avancha said. "And I still had her 5-4, 30-0 in the first set before I lost it. I definitely want to play her again."

Land O'Lakes visits Pasco in a tuneup today. Pasco lost 4-3 to Wiregrass earlier this season.

The Gator boys — David Dollbaum, Albert Xing, Christopher Mo, Eric Lee and Jeffrey Gu — are "athletic and well-rounded enough" to Gerazounis that playing on clay isn't a major issue. Lee and Gu are undefeated.

Whatever the team scores, the No. 1 singles and doubles champions advance to the state tournament. Mitchell's Daniel Lukish, who won a three-setter against Dollbaum on Tuesday, is certainly a candidate.

Mitchell coach Jamie Hinmon was able to plead her case to the YMCA of Palm Harbor, which has two clay courts. The Mustangs got in two days of work on the surface.

Wiregrass would be the hands-down favorite to win the boys title if Augie Moreno and Pedro Fernandez weren't playing in Panama. Meantime, starting Thursday, the whole Bulls squad is in a national team event in Louisville, Ky., and will to return Sunday night.

"And we go right to districts Monday," coach David Wilson said. "If we can get through districts, we're in good shape with everyone back for regionals. On the plus side, we have a pretty deep team."

District tournaments


When/where: 8 a.m. Monday; Hillsborough Community College (Dale Mabry campus)

Teams: Chamberlain, Freedom, Gaither, Land O'Lakes, Middleton, Mitchell, Robinson, Spoto, Sunlake, Wiregrass Ranch


When/where: 9 a.m. Tuesday; Lecanto High

Teams: Citrus, Groveland South Lake, Lake Minneola, Lecanto, Leesburg, Ocala Forest, Ocala Lake Weir, Ocala Vanguard, Springstead


When/where: TBD Tuesday; River Ridge High

Teams: Anclote, Dunedin, Fivay, Gulf, Hudson, Ridgewood, River Ridge, Tarpon Springs


When/where: 9 a.m. Monday; Crystal River High

Teams: Central, Crystal River, Hernando, Nature Coast, Pasco, Weeki Wachee, Wesley Chapel, Zephyrhills


When/where: 8 a.m. April 3; Hillsborough Community College (Dale Mabry campus)

Teams: Academy at the Lakes, Berkeley Prep, Bishop McLaughlin, Brooks DeBartolo, Calvary Christian, Cambridge Christian, Carrollwood Day, Citrus Park Christian, Clearwater Central Catholic, Hernando Christian, Indian Rocks Christian, Tampa Prep

Tennis: Nothing is for sure in 3A-9 tourney 03/26/14 [Last modified: Wednesday, March 26, 2014 10:12pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. For starters: Souza not in lineup vs. Rangers



  2. Remember that famous Fred McGriff TV commercial? He's back, in a parody


    If you've ever seen Fred McGriff's TV commerical for Tom Emanski's Defensive Drills video it will always be fresh in your mind, with the deadpan delivery and famously ill-fitting cap.

  3. Fennelly: Is Charlie Strong the anti-Freeze?


    The Hugh Sleaze era at Ole Mess is over.

    Hugh Freeze resigned as head football coach Thursday to avoid being fired by Mississippi school officials. For those of you who had NCAA violations and investigations in the pool, you were wrong. Nor was it the defamation lawsuit filed against the school by former Rebels …

    FILE - In this Sept. 5, 2016, file photo, Mississippi coach Hugh Freeze pauses during a timeout in the team's NCAA college football game against Florida State in Orlando, Fla. Freeze has resigned after five seasons, bringing a stunning end to a once-promising tenure. The school confirmed Freeze's resignation in a release Thursday night. Assistant Matt Luke has been named the interim coach. (AP Photo/John Raoux, File) NY176
  4. Rowdies part of a record-setting season for USL attendance


    ST. PETERSBURG — Although Rowdies fans haven't had many recent opportunities to show out at Al Lang, the United Soccer League turnstiles keep turning at a record rate.

    A Rowdies fan waves flags ahead of the first half of the game between Tampa Bay Rowdies and Orlando City B at Al Lang Stadium in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Saturday, March 25, 2017.
  5. 'Deadliest Catch' captain talks reality TV, Snoop Dogg and Tampa Bay


    Keith Colburn is best known as captain of the Wizard on the Discovery Network series Deadliest Catch. Colburn and crew go to battle in the Bering Sea working one of the deadliest jobs in America. A seasoned veteran, Keith has filmed 11 seasons of the show and is still going strong with his relief captain …

    Captain Keith Colburn is seen in this undated photo courtesy of the Discovery Channel. Courtesy of the Discovery Channel