Lely’s Matt Browne won’t be going to the state singles championship in Class 2A.
He lost the opportunity when favored Josh Dancu, of Naples High, beat him in the Class 2A-District 12 championship No. 1 singles match on Thursday morning.
Dancu, a sophomore, downed Browne, a freshman, 6-1, 6-1.
“I was hoping to take it to him, using my power to win,” Browne said. “I saw him play yesterday and I thought he didn’t play well. Today he played out of his mind.”
Browne had more power on his serves, but Dancu returned and won most of the long volleys to take control of the match early. At times Dancu’s shot-making had Browne running all over the court, playing defensive tennis.
While Browne, lost it did appear the boys team, based on Wednesday’s action, would win a trip to regional competition. The girls team also appeared headed to regional play.
Wednesday, the first day, was all singles matches, with four of five Lely boys and girls competitors advancing to the championship round.
Naples, the top seed, appeared headed for the overall title as they advanced all five singles competitors to the title rounds.
Thursday included singles championships and two rounds of doubles competition. The top two teams in overall points advanced to regional play. Only the No. 1 singles winner advanced immediately to the state title round.
Browne dominated his only singles match to advance to the title round with a 6-1, 6-0 win over Immokalee’s Marcos Ocanas.
Lely’s No. 2 singles competitor, Zak Rabani, won the first set easily, 6-0, then struggled, but won the second set, 7-5, over Immokalee’s Kevin Colon.
Cody Mendel, Lely’s No. 3 competitor, also won easily, downing Andy Hernandez of Golden Gate, 6-0-, 6-1.
Lely’s No. 4, Greg Hauze, the only senior, bowed out, losing 6-3, 6-2, to Trinidad Reyes of Clewiston, 6-3, 6-2.
No. 5 Matt Benito, got Lely back on its winning ways, knocking off Saeed Azan of Clewiston, 6-2, 6-2.
In Thursday afternoon’s first doubles matches, the No. 1 team of Browne and Rabani played Dorrell Cash and Tim Fromm of La Belle. The No. 2 team of Hauze and Mendel were to play Richard Talada and Santiago Reyes of La Belle.
If both teams won they were to go against Naples doubles teams.
For the girls, No. 1 Alex Barrett had no problem ousting Sarah Espinoza of Clewiston, 6-0, 6-0.
No. 2 Jenny Stout knocked off La Belle’s Courtney Deamer, 6-4, 6-1.
No. 3 Katrese Daniel downed Immokalee’s Anita Zaragoza, 6-4, 6-3, then lost to Taylor Beatty of Clewiston, 6-2, 6-2.
No. 4 Sophie Payne pounded Courtney Mathews of Immokalee, 6-0, 6-1.
No. 5 Taylor Crouse made easy work of Clewiston’s Brandy Herring, 6-0, 6-1.
All the singles competitors face Naples.
It was expected that the doubles teams of Barrett-Payne and Stout-Daniel would make it to the final round to face Naples competitors.