Seminole standout Joel Berman will not be in action until perhaps the last week of the season. Berman played in one high school match before injuring his right shoulder at a tournament in Miami.
He was an ironman last season, playing in every high school match as well as competing in under-18 state tournaments. But it looks as if he will not be a factor for the Warhawks anytime soon.
"He tried to hit about 20 serves the other day and only hit five before he had to quit," Seminole coach Rich Lally said. "He can hit groundstrokes, but he can't serve. We're going to have to see if he'll be ready for districts."
Berman, a junior, won the district title last year and advanced to the state tournament. Due to the injury, he has not played in enough state tournaments to earn a ranking.
Ironically, East Lake's Adrian Pagani missed most of last season due to an injury while Berman played every match. Berman was unable to play against longtime rival Pagani in an early season matchup, and probably will not be able to play Pagani when their teams meet later in the season.
"He just chickened out," Pagani said jokingly.
TORNADO ALERT: While many acknowledge East Lake as the power in boys tennis, Clearwater has emerged as a team to beat. Senior Scott Kurtis plays No. 1 singles for the Tornadoes, and he has chalked up impressive wins early in the season.
But the Tornadoes have what most teams, aside from East Lake, don't have _ depth. Joel Haner, Trent Cole and freshman Renaldo Valor have helped Clearwater get off to a hot start. Valor teams with Kurtis in No. 1 doubles.
STREAK ON THE LINE: Countryside travels to Seminole today in what could turn out to be one of the best matches this season. The Countryside boys have lost only once, and the girls have depth. If there is a team in the county that can snap the Seminole girls' 92-match win streak, it could be Countryside.
Seminole's Christa Grey and Countryside's Christine Weber are two of the best around.
_ RODNEY PAGE