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Lucin begins fourth postseason run

By GREG AUMAN, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published April 14, 2002

WESLEY CHAPEL -- Cristina Lucin has been here before.

Three years, three district tournaments, three times a state qualifier.

First as a freshman at Land O'Lakes, then over the past three seasons at Wesley Chapel, Lucin has been the county's player to beat, on a court by herself.

Twice, she's made the state semifinals, doing so in singles and doubles a year ago, and she's shown nothing to suggest otherwise this spring as she opens her fourth and final postseason run on her home courts Monday morning.

And just so she doesn't go into the postseason without a taste of the competition she'll eventually encounter between now and the state championships in Tampa, she lost her first set of the season on Thursday.

Wesley Chapel had lost to Land O'Lakes in their first meeting, and Gators No. 1 Marcela Argollo not only took the opening set from Lucin but by a 6-1 margin. The senior bounced back, however, rallying to win in three sets and helping the Wildcats to a 5-2 victory that locked up second place in the Sunshine Athletic Conference.

"She really had to dig down," first-year coach Julie Marks said. "She hasn't always had to play as hard as she can, because the girls in this area just aren't that strong."

The Wildcats have built a strong team around Lucin this year and are the team to beat in their district. After three years of advancing individually, Lucin could have company at state this time.

She'll be the district's top seed in doubles as well. She and fellow senior Paula Clausnitzer advanced to the Class 2A semifinals last season before falling to Orlando Bishop Moore's Natalie Arcario and Sarah Harkins.

Lucin and Clausnitzer could have a chance to avenge last year's loss. The Bishop Moore duo returns as sophomores, as do the defending state champions, Joelle Schwenk and Lingda Yang of Cardinal Gibbons. Schwenk won the Class 2A singles title last year as well.

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