Player of the Year Kara Kucin, Clearwater Central Catholic, Sophomore
Why we picked her: After losing to Shorecrest freshman Morgan Basil, considered one of the area's top players, early in the season, Kucin rolled through the competition and avenged the loss to Basil by beating her in a scintillating district final 6-2, 5-7, 7-6 (7-5). In the title match, Kucin was up 4-1 in the final set, then went down 5-4 before regaining her composure to beat Basil for the first time in four tries in their heated rivalry. The 5-foot-9 sophomore compares her battles with the Shorecrest freshman to the Serena Williams-Maria Sharapova rivalry and anticipates future meetings. Kucin, an aggressive, punishing player who attacks the net at every opportunity, finished the regular season 22-1 before faltering in the second round of the state finals.
Most impressive accomplishment: Beating Basil for the first time. After losing to the baseline player, Kucin changed her game plan and rushed the net numerous times to get Basil out of her comfort zone.
Did you know?: First, Kucin's older brother, Kirk, is a junior at CCC and finished the season 18-2 as the school's No. 1 singles player. Second, if Kucin wasn't racing around the court chasing balls, she might just be on the track. To keep in shape, she says she loves daily conditioning and does 200-meter sprints with her personal trainer.
College plans: Though Kucin still has two years left in high school, she is receiving numerous letters from colleges. Despite the impressive array of schools, she has her dream school lined up. Having lived in Maryland before her parents moved to Florida, Kucin hopes to play for the Terrapins one day.
Quotable: "She's the best athlete I've ever seen pick up a racket," CCC coach Scott Roeger said. "She has every shot in the book like a (Roger) Federer and she gets around the court and slides like a (Kim) Clijsters."
Chris Girandola, Times correspondent
Morgan Basil, Fr. Shorecrest Lost once during the season in the district final to Kucin
Julia Titlebaum, Fr. Palm Harbor University 10-0 in the county as the No. 1 for the Hurricanes
Lindsay Dvorak, Jr. St. Petersburg Played sparingly for the Green Devils because of amateur tournaments but dominated county competition when on the court.
Ashley Hood, Sr. St. Petersburg Went 13-1 while playing mostly in the No. 1 singles spot in place of Dvorak; only loss came to Titlebaum.
Allysa Bellini, Fr. St. Petersburg Catholic Won the district title.
Ariana Zayac, PHU, Fr.
Simone Berger, Lakewood, Sr.
Sunshine Beba, St. Petersburg, Fr.
Danielle Nickerson, St. Petersburg Catholic, So.
Jerica Coley, SPC, Fr.
Katie Osenmacher (Canterbury); Christina Roberto (CCC); Tara Vafadari (East Lake); Leann Yarn (Seminole); Molly Smith (SPC)
Coach of the Year
Alan Turnquist, St. Petersburg
Turnquist helped the Green Devils win their fourth county title in five years with an impressive 15-0 record. Turnquist worked wonders in devising game plans around Dvorak's absences. St. Petersburg lost in the district title to eventual state runnerup Alonso.