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Seminole streaking to states with (Green) Devil of a sweep

Seminole's girls and boys teams advanced past St. Petersburg on Friday to advance to next week's FHSAA Florida finals in Lakeland.

Four of five singles wins clinched team wins for the Seminole squads in the Class 5A-Region South II championship.

The coaches agreed not to play the two doubles.

"I've said all along that I expected the girls to do well _ they've won eight conference titles now _ and I'm proud of them," said Seminole's third-year coach Rich Lally. "I am especially proud of the boys."

Not since the 1995 season had the boys team won districts to qualify for the state tournament. Then, as a freshman, Joel Berman finished second in No. 1 and won the No. 1 doubles with Kevin Wright.

Friday, Berman was first off the court with a win at No. 1, followed by Lou Scaglione at No. 2 and Aaren Kitenplon at No. 5. Mark Rosenhoch won the deciding match at No. 4 with a 7-5, 6-2 score.

St. Petersburg's Justin Howard rallied from a second-set loss to give Seminole its only loss at No. 3 to Edward Christner, winning 6-4, 4-6, 6-2.

Jodi Berman (Joel's younger sister) clinched the girls team win with a 7-5, 6-4 score at No. 4.

"I didn't really get nervous, even though I knew she had beaten me in the season," Berman said of her opponent Julie Miller. "We were on serve the whole match until the end."

Seminole's Lori Grey at No. 1, Lauren Scaglione at No. 2 and Nicole Cercone at No. 3 each earned easy wins to be ahead 3-0 before the Berman-Miller match ended.

St. Petersburg's Jacqui Perlman scored the only Green Devil victory at No. 5, winning 6-0, 6-0 over Ashley Daniels.

5A-South I boys: Spongers ousted

Lakeland Jenkins seniors Patrick Gaughan, Jason Vo and Joey Osthoff advanced to the state championships for the third straight year with a 6-1 victory over Tarpon Springs.

"No one knows what they've meant to the school," Jenkins coach Dick Hartman said. "They are the big reasons we've been successful."

Jenkins, which hosts the 5A and 4A state tournaments, has established itself as a strong program, in only the school's fifth year. Tarpon Springs won its first district title last week but lost four of five singles matches to clinch the victory for Jenkins. Gaughan, who plays at No. 1 singles, defeated Sponger sophomore Sean Leitzinger, 6-0, 6-3. Gaughan will be playing in his fourth straight state tournament.

Ben Kronk picked up the lone victory for Tarpon Springs, defeating Vo 6-4, 3-6, 6-4.

_ SPECIAL TO THE TIMES, THE LEDGER

4A-South II girls: PHU wins

PALM HARBOR _ Palm Harbor University watched its No. 1 singles player drop two quick sets, then rallied for four straight singles victories in a 5-2 win over Auburndale.

The Hurricanes moved into the state tourney starting Wednesday at Lakeland, hosted by George Jenkins High. Brackets will be drawn Tuesday afternoon.

When the Bloodhounds' No. 1 Holly Ready easily defeated Carla Wrassman 6-0, 6-2, coach Irene Tharin was more than concerned.

But the Hurricane No. 3 and 4 players, Huldah Dayton and Rachel Epstein, won in straight sets, and No. 2 Brenda Corace and No. 5 Jessica Mannen each used three sets to assure the win going into doubles.

"The three-set wins were so critical," Tharin said. "They pulled it out for us. It was nice to have the home match to keep us going."

The teams split the doubles matches, with Auburndale Ready and April Shouppe winning 6-4, 6-3 over PHU's No. 1 duo of Wrassman and Corace.

Dayton and Mannen took three sets to end the match with a 7-5, 4-6, 6-2 victory over Heather Stambaugh and Kristin Ward. _ TOM MANTER

3A-South I: Thom Howard, Canterbury out

BRADENTON _ Thom Howard Academy's attempt to dethrone powerful Bradenton Academy fell short at the Bollettieri Tennis Center.

The Eagles trailed 3-2 after the singles matches, which kept their chances of advancing to the state tournament alive heading into the two doubles matches.

But the Blazers No. 2 doubles team of Timo Volmer and Demi Franulovac swept Thom Howard's Andrew Ford and Reinaldo Valor 6-3, 6-0 to seal the victory.

Just for good measure, Tomas Smid and Matt Hanlin defeated Thom Howard's Esat Tanik and Michael Murray 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 to give the Blazers a 5-2 win.

Bradenton Academy, which plays very few regular season matches, improved to 5-0. Thom Howard's season ended at 14-1.

"We're getting closer," Thom Howard coach Dr. Thom Howard said. "Maybe next year we can get them."

This is the fourth straight season Thom Howard has lost to Bradenton Academy in either the districts or the regionals.

The Canterbury girls also played Bradenton Academy, but it was unable to take a match.

Canterbury was without No. 2 player Alexia Erb, who was out with tendonitis. It wouldn't have mattered _ Bradenton Christian won 5-0. The doubles weren't played since the outcome was already decided.

The closest match was at No. 1 singles, where Canterbury's Kelly McCain lost 6-3, 7-5 to Alesyia Ignatievia. _ RODNEY PAGE

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