Cassie Pough has twice felt what it’s like to be a state tennis champion at Dr. Krop.
But as the lone senior on the Lightning’s starting group of players, Pough’s goal is to help her younger teammates share the same experience on the way to a potential third title.
Pough and Krop’s girls completed one of their first goals on the journey Thursday, winning the school’s eighth consecutive GMAC tennis title with a 5-0 victory over Mourning in the finals at the Biltmore Hotel tennis courts in Coral Gables.
On the boys’ side, Coral Gables denied Krop a sweep by defeating the Lightning 5-2 in the finals to win its second consecutive county crown.
Pough completed a career GMAC sweep and is the leader of a squad powered by her, junior Danna Gandelman, a sophomore and two freshmen. The Lightning (10-0) has won five state titles in the past six seasons.
“We have a lot of younger players so this is great because I wanted them to feel what it’s like to win a GMAC title and hopefully be a part of an undefeated team the way I have,” Pough said. “I’ve had to be more of a leader this year so it’s put more pressure on me, but I’ve enjoyed it.”
Krop’s girls pulled out a tough 4-3 victory against Palmetto in the semifinals earlier in the day. Pough won both her matches without losing a service game. Palmetto kept it close with Emma Petersen winning at No. 2 over Gandelman and Stephanie Levine defeating freshman Naomi Maehama. But Pough and Gandelman clinched the match by defeating Petersen and Cary Milanes in doubles, 6-3, 6-1.
Coral Gables’ boys dropped a pair of matches at the top of its singles order as Krop’s Alex Knight defeated Alfredo Perez 6-2, 6-3 at No. 1 in a matchup of the two top-ranked players in the state in their 16-and-over age group. Paul Andrey Pierre-Louis also edged Gables’ Mirko Radosevic 6-4, 4-6, 7-6 to win at No. 2. But Perez and Radosevic got payback in doubles, winning 8-3. And the Cavaliers displayed their depth, as Christian Gazzolo (No. 3), Danny Spatz (No. 4) and Sebastian Gazzolo (No. 5) all won their matches.
“Both of our top guys said they felt slow early on, but they picked it up as the day went on,” Coral Gables coach David Weiner said. “Krop is a good team and very tough to beat.”
Boys’ final – Coral Gables d. Krop 5-2 – No. 1 singles: Alex Knight (KR) d. Alfredo Perez (CG) 6-2, 6-3; No. 2: Paul Andrey Pierre-Louis (KR) d. Mirko Radosevic (CG) 6-4, 4-6, 7-6; No. 3: Christian Gazzolo (CG) d. Ariel Hollander (KR) 1-6, 6-0, 6-4; No. 4: Danny Spatz (CG) d. Alex Rothman (KR) 6-1, 6-2; No. 5: Sebastian Gazzolo (CG) d. Christian Federici (KR) 6-1, 6-1; No. 1 doubles: Radosevic/Perez (CG) d. Knight/Pierre-Louis (KR) 8-3; No. 2: C. Gazzolo/Spatz (CG) d. Hollander/Rothman (KR) 8-4.
Girls’ final – Krop d. Mourning 5-0 – No. 1 singles: Cassie Pough (KR) d. Anastasia Paliivets (ATM) 8-0; No. 2: Danna Gandelman (KR) d. Jackie Rosales (ATM) 8-1; No. 3: Naya Oden (KR) d. Natalie Hernandez (ATM) 8-1; No. 4: Sophia Sultan (KR) d. Alexandra Cabezas (ATM) 8-1; No. 5: Naomi Maehama (KR) d. Tatiana Aguirre (ATM) 8-0.
Boys’ semifinal – Coral Gables d. Mourning 5-0: Alfredo Perez won No. 1 singles, 6-2, 6-1; Mirko Radosevic won No. 2 singles, 6-2, 6-4; Christian Gazzolo won No. 3 singles 6-1, 6-3; Danny Spatz won No. 4 singles 6-1, 6-2; Sebastian Gazzolo won No. 5 singles, 6-0, 6-0
Boys’ semifinal – Krop d. Palmetto 5-0: Alex Knight won No. 1 singles 6-0, 6-0; Paul Andrey Pierre-Louis won No. 2 singles, 6-0, 6-1; Ariel Hollander won No. 3 singles 6-2, 6-0; Alex Rothman won No. 4 singles 6-0, 6-1; Christian Federici won No. 5 singles 6-1, 6-1.
Girls’ semifinal – Krop d. Palmetto 4-3 – No. 1 singles: Cassie Pough (KR) d. Cary Milanes (PAL) 6-0, 6-0; No. 2: Emma Petersen (PAL) d. Danna Gandelman (KR) 6-1, 6-0; No. 3: Naya Oden (KR) d. Olivia Shuitema (PAL) 6-2, 6-3; No. 4: Sophia Sultan (KR) d. Alex Schlesinger (PAL) 6-2, 6-4; No. 5: Stephanie Levine (PAL) d. Naomi Maehama (KR) 6-2, 6-1; No. 1 doubles: Pough/Gandelman (KR) d. Petersen/Milanes (PAL) 6-3, 6-1; No. 2: Schlesinger/Sophia (PAL) d. Oden/Sultan (KR) 6-3, 6-2.
Girls’ semifinal – Mourning d. Miami Beach, 4-2 – No. 1 singles: Anastasia Paliivets (ATM) d. E. Agasse (MB) 6-2, 6-2; No. 2: Jackie Rosales (ATM) d. S. Iadorola (MB) 6-0, 6-2; No. 3: A. Cano (MB) d. Natalie Hernandez (ATM) 7-6, 6-4; No. 4: Alexandra Cabezas (ATM) d. E. Betito (MB) 6-0, 6-4; No. 5: M. Rynor (MB) d. Tatiana Aguirre (ATM) 6-1, 6-2; No. 1 doubles: Paliivets/Rosales (ATM) d. Agasse/Iadorola (MB) 6-0, 6-3.