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Hernando coach pleased with team, weighs future

By BRANT JAMES

© St. Petersburg Times, published April 19, 2001


photo
[Times photo: Douglas Clifford]
Hernando's Katie Heinecke returns a shot during a district match.
SPRING HILL -- Hernando girls coach Terri Sellers said she was happy with the Leopards' second-place finish in the Class 2A, District 6 Tournament on Tuesday.

It's always best to leave happy.

Sellers, citing work commitments and her responsibilities to three young daughters, saidshe does not intend to return as coach.

"At this moment, my intentions are not to come back as a full-time coach," Sellers said. "I will look at the big picture, and if I have a helper, maybe I can do it, but right now I don't intend to."

Sellers' last district tourney failed to produce any state qualifiers or a team champion, as Central beat Hernando 16-11 for the overall title.

"I'm fine with the girls' performance, and I think they're fine with it as well," she said. "I thought it would be more between Central and I. I thought every match would have come down to us and Central, but it didn't work out that way.

"Jaime (Joyce) and Michele (Ehlenbeck) were more sad," Seller said. "It was their last day of high school tennis, and they graduate and move on."

Joyce, seeded fourth in the first singles flight, won her first-round match against Pasco's Lucy Hill, 6-3, 6-2, before falling 0-6, 2-6 to Wesley Chapel's Cristina Lucin, who went on to capture her third district title.

Ehlenbeck, the top seed in the second flight, lost in the final to Central's Jane McDonald, 3-6, 1-6.

"I think the spectators ruined that match," Sellers said, "for both girls. It's hard to focus when every point is a spectator's comment."

Joyce and Ehlenbeck beat Mitchell's Katrina Hibbard and Justine Ledwitch 7-5, 6-3 before Lucin and teammate Paula Clausnitzer bounced them 6-0, 6-2 in a semifinal. Junior Katie Heinecke, seeded first in third singles flight, won Hernando's lone title, coming back to beat Central's Paula Nagarajan 4-6, 6-0, 6-1.

"She beat me bad in the first set," said Heinecke, who captured a championship in the fourth singles flight last year. "It could have gone either way, basically, and we just happened to split sets, and I was able to come back and beat her. I was nervous, and her serves were perfect every single time in the first set. Then she started to get a little more tired and something kicked in in me."

* * *

Kate Werner advanced to the fourth singles final but lost to Central's Shelance Etchison, 1-6, 2-6. Freshman Jenna Pecsenka produced seventh-place Springstead's lone point. She beat fourth-seeded Christyna Wilson (Wesley Chapel) 6-2, 6-0 but fell behind 1-6 in a semifinal against Heinecke and forfeited due to injury.

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