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Preps

Spartans, Warhawks going to the wire

By LAURA LEE
© St. Petersburg Times
published April 23, 2003

SEMINOLE -- Mid match, Kristen Cuddihy asked for a line judge.

Cuddihy, a Boca Ciega sophomore, had taken a set in the No. 3 semifinal singles against Seminole junior Maddy Erbe. If Erbe lost, it could be the end of Seminole's chance at a Class 3A, District 10 title.

Doubt was adding to the pressure. Erbe was up 5-1 in the second set, and both said having Lakewood coach Ron Kennedy standing at the net gave them peace of mind to play it out.

Cuddihy made Erbe beat her in 3-6, 6-1, 6-2 to advance to the singles finals today. It was a must-win for the Warhawks.

"We would have been done," said Seminole coach Rich Lally.

The Warhawks would have been behind the Spartans by two points, too much to give up to the team it tied at the end of last year's tournament, forcing a third-day dual-match playoff that Seminole won. Today, both teams are tied at 10. Boca Ciega is in third with six points.

The other singles semifinals, which were barely contests, set up an all Lakewood-Seminole singles finals today. Barring anything unexpected in the doubles semifinals, which start the tournament, Lakewood and Seminole very well could match up in both the doubles finals, too. It would mean several of the girls from both teams will play the state-limit three matches today, appearing twice in doubles play as well as the singles finals.

St. Petersburg has a shot

TAMPA -- After adding the points and looking at today's matchups, St. Petersburg coach Alan Turnquist still sees a chance for his team, a good chance if his team comes to play.

"I told the girls all day that if we win at No. 3, 4 and 5 then we'll have a shot," Turnquist said. "That still holds true."

Indeed, Palm Harbor U. leads with 10, followed by St. Petersburg at eight and Chamberlain with seven.

Palm Harbor still has singles players alive at Nos. 2 through 5, but the kicker is that St. Petersburg plays against Palm Harbor in the bottom three matches.

And in the other matches, Palm Harbor appears to be far from a shoo-in.

"Everything has to fall into place," Turnquist said. "But it could happen."

In No. 1 singles, Gaither's Brianna Williams and Chamberlain's Becky Gordon meet in the final after losing two games apiece in the quarterfinals.

In No. 1 doubles, Williams and teammate Annika Johansson appear to be the team to beat after taking out St. Petersburg's No. 1 doubles team 6-0, 6-3.

"(Williams and Johansson) have lost only one match this season, but they didn't play their best in that one," Gaither coach Dana Madrid said. "So if they play well, they'll be tough to beat."

-- SCOTT PURKS

East Lake has perfect day

East Lake advanced in all five singles brackets in Class 3A, District 9, and faces Clearwater in four finals today at at McMullen Booth Tennis Complex. The Tornadoes trailed the Eagles by two points in the team competition after the first day, and both teams have pairs in both doubles groupings.

"If she (Lauren Bauer) wins, she's the key, we have a good shot at it," Tornado coach Dave Scott said.

Bauer will face Eagle No. 1 Anastasiya Sokolova. Countryside remains in the team contest, trailing East Lake (10) by four with one singles match and two doubles semifinals. Dunedin (three), Tarpon Springs (four), and Largo (zero) are out of contention.

The No. 2-4 singles finals pit East Lake against Clearwater. At No. 5 Alexis Johnson of Countryside advanced over Krysta Pappas.

Play resumes at 9 a.m. today.

-- ERIC MUSKATEVC

AFA duo in top form

ST. PETERSBURG -- Laura Ladd and Rachel Silverberg, the two top players for Admiral Farragut, dominated their matches in the Class A, District 9 tournament at St. Pete Racquet Club.

Coach Warner Block praised his players' performance.

"Rachel and Laura both have a very good chance of winning their finals' matches," he said. "Until this year, we never had a dominant 1-2 punch like Rachel and Laura."

Ladd defeated Jackie Roether of Clearwater Central Catholic 6-3, 6-1 and meets Christine Guerrier of St. Petersburg Catholic in the No. 1 final.

"I hope I can win and I think it will be an even match-up," Ladd said. "But I am basically just having fun out there."

Silverberg, after a near flawless performance on the first day, plays Kristy Klibenoff of CCC in the No. 2 final. Klibenoff reached the finals by beating Kayla Woodbury of Indian Rocks Christian 6-1, 6-2.

The finals start at 9 a.m. with the doubles to follow.

-- CARMINO IMONDI

Myers out in semis

In the Class 2A, District 11 tournament at Bardmoor Tennis Club in Largo, Tampa Catholic's Miranda Gutierrez, ranked fourth in the state last season, defeated Booker's Stacey Pearson 6-0, 6-0, to reach the final round against Lori Colby of Bradenton Southeast. Colby was a 6-0, 6-0 winner over Osceola's Ashley Myers. "I remember Lori from last year's district tournament," Gutierrez said. "She was very good then and I know she has become even better. I'll have to be at the top of my game to beat her."

Tampa Catholic, with 11 points, led Palmetto (nine) in the standings. Booker (five) was third.

-- JIM REESE

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