BC in position to capture two more crowns

While the Cougar boys have a commanding lead, the girls will need an impressive finish today

— Both of Barron Collier’s tennis teams still have hopes of repeating as Class 3A tennis champions.

The boys are in much better position than the girls after winning all of their matches in straight sets on Wednesday. The Cougars’ five singles players advanced to the finals, with both doubles teams cruising in quarterfinal matches. The Barron Collier boys opened a 12-8 lead in the team standings over St. Thomas Aquinas and Gainesville.

As for the girls, they’ve got some work to do but remain in solid shape. The Cougars are in a three-way tie with Gainesville and Chamberlain — each team has eight points.

The Cougars have two players in today’s singles finals — No. 4 Gabriella Ciferni and No. 5 Bean Johnstone. Both doubles teams are still alive.

“It’s going to be similar to last year, I really believe it’s going to come down to the doubles,” Cougars coach Nancy Eberhardt said. “And I have a lot of confidence in our doubles teams. They work well together. This tournament is a bit more interesting than last year because it’s wide open. Last year, it was us and Aquinas. This year, it’s been more competitive.”

The boys’ draw was anything but competitive, as the Cougars dominated each match. Only Jonathan Drew was remotely tested, rallying from a 4-2 second set hole for a 6-1, 7-5 win over Gainesville’s James Walker.“I’m actually a bit surprised, I expected more competition,” Cougars co-coach Eric Manring said. “But on a hot day, it was good to have some quick matches. The guys should be ready (for today’s championship matches).”

Barron Collier's Eric Corace returns a shot during the first round of the quarterfinals at the state tennis tournament held at Sanlando Park Wednesday.

Photo by Todd Seimer/Special to the Daily News

Barron Collier's Eric Corace returns a shot during the first round of the quarterfinals at the state tennis tournament held at Sanlando Park Wednesday.

Senior David Irvin sent a message in his semifinal match, as he romped 6-1, 6-1 over St. Thomas Aquinas’ Ray Duyungan. Aquinas was expected to be the main competition for the Cougars and Irvin was easily able to eliminate its No. 3 singles player.

“I just put it all together today,” Irvin said. “I was making my shots and was able to keep my head. I’m more happy for what my teammates were able to accomplish out there. I’ve got confidence in every one of these guys and if we play to our potential, there’s no reason we can’t repeat.”

Irvin said this year’s Cougars squad is better than last year’s due to the emergence of No. 1 singles and doubles player Reid Carleton. Carleton moved to the area from Pennsylvania and is the No. 16 player in USTA’s 18-and-under rankings.

“He’s really stepped up and filled that No. 1 spot and we’re a complete team now,” Irvin said. “We don’t have many weaknesses.”

Carleton attended a private school in Pennsylvania and is enjoying his first taste of a state tournament.

“This is a lot of fun and we’re all playing well right now,” Carleton said.

Carleton will face Brennan Boyajian of St. Thomas Aquinas, the No. 2 player in USTA’s under-16 age group and the top seed in the tournament.

“I’ve never faced him before but I know I’ll need to be at my best,” Carleton said. “I’m looking forward to the challenge of playing him. He’s a guy who doesn’t give many free points away. He’s got solid ground strokes but I’m feeling pretty good about how I’ve been playing.”

If the Cougar girls are able to repeat as champions, they’ll have Ciferni and Johnstone to thank. With three of their teammates faltering in singles competition, Ciferni and Johnstone easily reached the finals of their respective brackets.

Johnstone, a senior, knew of her teammates’ struggles and was motivated on the court.

“When I know my teammates are in trouble, it makes me raise my game,” Johnstone said. “I know I’ve got to get it done for the team.”

Today’s singles finals begin at 8 a.m., with the doubles semifinals and finals to follow.

Class 3A Tennis Tournament At Sanlando Park, Altamonte Springs

Boys

Team standings

1. Barron Collier (BC) 12, 2. St. Thomas Aquinas (ST), Gainesville (G) 8; 4. Wharton (W) 5; 5. Leon (L) 3; 6. Martin County (MC) 2; 7. East Lake (EL), Central (C) 0.

Singles — First round: No. 1 — Carleton (BC) def. O’Rourke, 6-1, 6-0; No. 2 — Corace (BC) def. Pagani (EL) 6-0, 6-1; No. 3 — Irvin (BC) def. Karawacki (G), 6-1, 6-0; No. 4 — Drew (BC) def. Reese (EL), 6-0, 6-1; No. 5 — Johnson (BC) def. Groom (EL) 6-0, 6-0. Semifinals: No. 1 — Carleton def. Curet (MC), 6-0, 6-2; No. 2 — Corace def. Green (L), 6-1, 6-2; No. 3 — Irvin def. Puyungan (ST), 6-1, 6-1; No. 4 — Drew def. Walker (G) 6-1, 7-5; No. 5 — Johnson def. Postma (L), 6-2, 6-1.

Doubles — First round: No. 1 — Carleton/Corace (BC) def. Curet/Rinaldi (MC), 6-1, 6-2. No. 2 — Johnson/Irvin (BC) def. Bulso/Wilson (C), 6-0, 6-0.

Singles — First round: No. 1 — Lee (BC) d. Basilone (STA) 6-2, 6-1; No. 2 — Boyajian (STA) d. Irvin (BC) 6-1, 6-3; No. 3 — Corace (BC) d. Beck (WASH) 6-2, 6-1; No. 4 — Johnson (BC) d. Moore (WASH) 6-3, 6-2; No. 5 — Kommer (BC) d. Lefebvre (WHAR) 6-1, 6-2; Semifinals: No. 1 — D’Adamo (PL) d. Lee 6-2, 6-2; No. 3 — Corace d. DeRizzio (EG) 6-3, 6-2; No. 4 — Johnson d. Wong (WHAR) 6-0, 6-1; No. 5 — Kommer d. Westphal (STA) 6-3, 7-5.

Girls

Team standings

1. Barron Collier (BC) 8; Gainesville (G) 8; Chamberlain (C) 8; 4. Leon (L) 5; St. Thomas Aquinas (ST) 5; 6. Celebration (CE) 4; 7. East Lake (EL), Satellite (S) 0.

Singles — First round: No. 1 - Delaney (BC) def. Vafaderi (EL) 6-4, 6-2; No. 2 — Vaughan (BC) def. Dye (L) 6-2, 6-1; No. 3 — Saviano (ST) def. Johnson, 6-4, 7-5; No. 4 — Ciferni (BC) def. Riess (L), 6-1, 6-0; No. 5 — Johnstone (BC) def. Dunham (EL), 6-2, 6-0. Semifinals: No. 1 — Huschke (CE) def. Delaney, 6-3, 6-1; No. 2 — Frankenberger (G) def. Vaughan, 6-2, 6-2; No. 4 — Ciferni def. Fisher (C), 6-1, 6-1; No. 5 — Johnstone def. Bernhard (C), 6-0, 6-2.

Doubles — First round: No. 1 — Delaney/Ciferni (BC) def. Carlstern/Vafaderi (EL), 6-3, 6-0. No. 2 — Johnson/Johnstone (BC) def. Cornthwaite/Shapiro (S), 6-2, 6-0.

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