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Preps

No surprise here: King wins again

The Lions remain undefeated and the dominant force in girls Class 3A, District 11.

By MIKE READLING, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published April 23, 2003


TEMPLE TERRACE -- King coach Carole Pressick can't remember the last time her team didn't win the district tennis title.

That's not bragging and it's not bad memory, after all, Pressick can remember all the girls who brought home those titles. It has just been so long since King didn't win that it doesn't stick out. One thing Pressick knows: Since she took over in 1991, the Lions have lost 18 matches and none of them have been in the district finals.

That streak continued Tuesday at the Whiteway Courts as King swept all five singles matches and both doubles matches to score 21 points, beating runner-up Sickles (11) and third-place Plant (seven).

Unlike Monday's first round, the Lions managed to drop a few games but all five singles players won in two sets, including No. 5 seed Jen Fiorica, who had the toughest time winning 7-5, 6-3.

Laura Gioia and Linda Tien teamed up to win the No. 1 doubles title, beating the Sickles duo of Caylee Cotney and Jaclyn Widi 6-2, 6-1. Gioia and Tien won the No. 1 state doubles title in the individual bracket last season before losing the overall title to Countryside's Jennifer Dent and Evangelina Soriano. But the Lions, who are 13-0, have other things on their minds.

First and foremost is Friday's region match against Lakewood Ranch. It was Lakewood Ranch that defeated the Lions in the same round last season 4-3, denying them the chance to compete as a team at the state tournament.

4A-5: St. Petersburg rallies past rival PHU

TAMPA -- Trailing Palm Harbor University by two points heading into Tuesday's finals, St. Petersburg needed victories in almost all of their remaining matches.

What the Green Devils got was even better: They won every match they played at Hillsborough Community College, three of them head-to-head with Palm Harbor in the No. 3, 4 and 5 singles finals.

Final score: St. Petersburg 13, Palm Harbor 10 and hard-charging Gaither 10.

It was sweet victory for the Green Devils, who went 9-6, losing a lot of close matches along the way.

The Green Devils will host Sarasota in Friday's regions at the St. Petersburg Tennis Center. The winner of that match moves on to next week's state tournament.

Gaither's Brianna Williams and Annika Johansson also earned trips to state as Williams took the No. 1 singles title with a 6-0, 7-5 victory over Chamberlain's Becky Gordon, and Williams and Johansson combined to take No. 1 doubles.

-- SCOTT PURKS

3A-12: Late win secures title for Lakewood Ranch

BRADENTON -- Lakewood Ranch made it two district championships in a row after a tight battle with crosstown rival Bradenton Bayshore.

Going into their head-to-head doubles finals, Lakewood Ranch had 17 points and Bayshore 15, meaning a pair of wins by Bayshore would put the battle into a tie.

However, the Mustangs' No. 2 doubles team secured a 6-3, 6-1 win to put the title in the record books, made the No. 1 doubles match moot (won by Bayshore 6-4, 3-6, 6-3) and set the Mustangs up for a match at King on Friday for the region title and a trip to the state tournament.

The match attracting the most attention was No. 1 singles between Bayshore sophomore Sherry Price and Lakewood Ranch freshman Breanna Atkinson.

Atkinson jumped out early for a 6-3 win in the first set but Price slowly came back in the second to score a 6-4 win for a split. Price took charge in the third for a 6-2 win and a trip to the state tournament, without her team.

Sarah Linzy and Grosse combined their talents to clinch the district title for the Mustangs with the doubles win over Bayshore freshman Laime Contreras and junior Jessica Maire.

Durant sophomore Abby Martin was the only Hillsborough County player to make it to the finals. She dropped the No. 5 match for the title to Lakewood Ranch sophomore Clare Kerekes 6-3, 6-2.

-- TERRY JONES

2A-11: Competition can't slow Tampa Catholic

LARGO -- Miranda Gutierrez of Tampa Catholic, ranked fourth in Florida's 16-and-under division last year, defeated Lori Colby of Bradenton Southeast 6-1, 6-0 in No. 1 singles in the district final at Bardmoor Tennis Club.

Gutierrez, who will play at South Carolina in the fall, consistently showed a strong overall game.

"She is clearly the best around," said Colby, who beat Laura Stinson of Palmetto 6-3, 6-3 in the semifinals. "I thought I might be able to mount an attack against her midway into that first set, but she was just too good. She strongly dictated all the points today."

Tampa Catholic won the title with 21 points to runner-up Palmetto's 11.

"We played well today," Crusaders coach Lauren Walker said. "Considering the number of injuries we've had this year, this win is a testament to the drive and desire these young women have. This is as fine a group as I've ever been associated with."

TC won all five singles matches in straight sets. In addition to Gutierrez, Meaghan McKenna beat Judith Voss of Sarasota Booker 6-2, 6-0 at No. 2, Jennifer Respi topped Kaitlyn Hastings of Freedom 6-4, 6-4 at No. 3, Megan Zavonia overcame Stephanie Joseph of Palmetto 7-5, 6-3 at No. 4 and Lindsay Moore bested Mallery Langford of Palmetto 6-1, 6-0 at No. 5.

In doubles, McKenna and Gutierrez teamed to beat Stinson and Joseph of Palmetto 6-0, 6-0 at No. 1 and Respi and Zavonia turned back Brittany Smith and Katie Wilson of Osceola 5-7, 6-3, 6-1 at No. 2.

-- JIM REESE

A-8: The rest no match for powerful Saddlebrook

TAMPA -- Saddlebrook proved to be too much for the rest of the district, sweeping every singles and doubles final to earn a spot in next week's state tournament.

The last doubles match was the longest of the day as Saddlebrook's Kourtney Stark and Jamie DeGraffenreid defeated Academy of the Holy Names' Deirdre Ziegenfuss and Allison Symulevich 4-6, 6-2, 6-2.

"Mentally, we were not there in the first set," Stark said. "It was my third match of the day, I was tired, but once we got it together, we played well."

At No. 1 singles, Saddlebrook freshman Christina Liles defeated Tampa Prep freshman Andrea Meythaler 6-4, 6-1. Liles also paired with Lorinda Boothman in No. 1 doubles to defeat Meythaler and Mary Ingram in a quick 6-0, 6-0 victory.

"I kind of knew what to expect (with Meythaler) because we've played before," Liles said. "She's pretty good. Hopefully I can play well at state. This is the first year all of us are from Florida."

Liles was on last season's Saddlebrook team, which placed third in Class A.

Saddlebrook did not drop a single match of the tournament and finished with 14 points. Holy Names and Tampa Prep tied with three points, Berkeley Prep had one and Cambridge didn't score.

-- EMILY NIPPS

4A-6: Sarasota dominates

At Sarasota Riverview, Sarasota girls dominated the district, winning the title with 20 points. Sarasota will travel to St. Petersburg on Friday to compete in the region tournament.

-- TIMES STAFF

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