Ransom Everglades returned to state championship status in girls’ tennis last season.
Judging from their performances this season, the Raiders look poised to make it a repeat.
And the boys’ squad, a state runner-up last season, is hoping to make it a sweep at next week’s state tournament in Casselberry.
“We’ve kept our focus this season because we all have a common goal,” Ransom’s Lindsey Mendelson said.
Ransom’s girls swept Carrollton 5-0 on Thursday in a Class 1A regional final match at Crandon Park in Key Biscayne. The Raiders, who have no seniors in their starting five, were led by juniors Allegra Hanlon and Mendelson.
Hanlon defeated Alexandra Fields at No. 1 after Fields was forced to retire with a back injury after falling behind 5-0 in the first set. Mendelson won her No. 2 match and Claudia McKenzie (No. 3), Heather Boehm (No. 4) and Vivien Fernandez-Ravelo (No. 5) completed the sweep.
Ransom (13-1) is chasing its eighth state title overall and second in a row.
“The support we have for each other has been really important,” Hanlon said. “We’ve stayed united as a team. In a demanding sport like tennis, especially when playing team tennis, it’s great when you know your teammates are backing you up.”
On the boys’ side, Ransom defeated Miami Country Day 4-1 in the regional final at the Jockey Club in Miami Shores. The Raiders boys (10-4) will vie for their fifth state title overall and first since 2008.
Josh Dughi, a senior, won his match at No. 2 singles, and seventh-grader Antonio Mora (No. 3), eighth-grader John Michael Holtmann (No. 4) and sixth-grader Samuel Rubell (No. 5) clinched the victory.
Miami Country Day’s Shaun Berman, an individual state finalist last season, gave the Spartans their lone victory by beating Jeffrey McKenzie 6-2, 6-1 in the No. 1 singles match.
“We have good leaders on this team with our seniors,” Ransom coach Peter Lehmann said. “The key to winning an overall title could come down to our middle schoolers. Those guys are young, but very talented.”
Class 1A Boys – Ransom Everglades 4, Miami Country Day 1 – No. 1 singles: Shaun Berman (MCD) d. Jeff McKenzie (RE) 6-2, 6-1; No. 2: Josh Dughi (RE) d. Alec Koss (MCD) 6-3, 6-0; No. 3: Antonio Mora (RE) d. Rafael Kassin (MCD) 6-4, 6-3; No. 4: John Michael Holtmann (RE) d. Danny Kassin (MCD) 6-3, 6-3; No. 5: Samuel Rubell (RE) d. Max Cohen (MCD) 6-2, 6-2.
Class 1A Girls – Ransom Everglades 5, Carrollton 0 – No. 1 singles: Allegra Hanlon (RE) d. Alexandra Fields (CAR), 5-0, retired; No. 2: Lindsey Mendelson (RE) d. Nina Cubero (CAR) 6-3, 6-1; No. 3: Claudia McKenzie (RE) d. Sima Vasquez (CAR) 6-0, 6-0; No. 4: Heather Boehm (RE) d. Alexis Vidaurreta (CAR) 6-2, 6-0; No. 5: Vivien Fernandez-Ravelo (RE) d. Lucia Pineiro (CAR) 6-0, 6-0.
• Reagan senior Juan Tovar left the courts at Krop with a coach patting him on his back and telling him he had played his finest match of the season.
That he lost 6-0, 6-2 to Alex Knight shows just how much talent Krop coach Felix Rydz has at his disposal.
Krop defeated Reagan 4-1 in a boys’ tennis Class 4A region matchup. Reagan’s season is over at 8-4, but Krop (17-1) advances to the state tournament, which will be held Tuesday through Friday at Altamonte Springs.
“He has a great serve,” Tovar said of Knight. “He will not miss balls. He will make you miss. He’s a great player.”
Knight, who finished second at state last season with a 15-1 individual record, said he is much improved from 2012.
“This whole team has been working on our fitness, training on and off the court,” said Knight, who was 8 years old when he first started playing tennis at Morningside Park. “We’ve been working on the track, the gym and running lines on the court.”
• Visiting Krop improved to 14-0-1 win a dominant performance, dropping a combined total of just two games. “Our girls are really ready for state,” Krop coach Michelle Kypriss said.
Boys — Krop 4, Reagan 1 : No. 1 Alex Knight d. Juan Tovar, 6-0, 6-2; No. 2 Paul A’drey Pierre-Louis d. Christian Villacis, 6-2, 6-0; No. 3 Ariel Hollender d. Juan Villasmil, 6-4, 6-4; No. 4 Alex Rothman d. Nelson Romero, 6-1, 6-2; No. 5 Alejandro Rico d. Christian Federici, 7-6, 7-6.
Girls — Krop 5, Flanagan 0: No. 1 Cassie Pough d. Samantha Arcvalo, 6-2, 6-0; No. 2 Danna Gandelman d. Lina Restrepo, 6-0, 6-0; No. 3 Naiya Oden d. Anna Dushax, 6-0, 6-0; No. 4 Sophia Sultan d. Nathla Farjavo, 6-0, 6-0; No. 5 Naomi Maehama d. Adrienne Guilbaud, 6-0, 6-0;
• The Palmetto girls and Coral Gables boys punched their tickets to states at the Biltmore Hotel with victories in Class 4A regional finals.
The Panthers defeated the Coral Gables girls’ team 4-1, and the Cavaliers boys swept the five singles matches 5-0 from Columbus.
The Palmetto girls, who will send an individual to the state finals for the sixth consecutive season, will now advance to states as a team for the third year in a row.
With Palmetto up 3-1 in girls play, the lone Panther playing was Emma Petersen at the No. 2 position against Gables’ Paulina Bejar. Had Petersen lost the three-set match, the regional would’ve been extended to doubles play to determine a winner.
But Petersen clinched a come-from-behind, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 victory to get the team packing early. Already up 3-2 in the third set with both players holding serve, Petersen broke Bejar’s serve to take a commanding 4-2 lead.
“She was down 4-1 in the second set [after dropping the first], and came back to win that set 6-4,” said Palmetto girls’ tennis coach Kelly Gibson, whose team placed fourth at states last season. “That was a huge turning point.
“For a kid to do that, that’s pretty big. She never gives up.”
Coral Gables, which was hosting both regionals, did not come away empty Thursday. Although the girls fell, the boys are returning to states after finishing second to Weston Cypress Bay in last season’s tournament.
The Cavaliers did it without No. 1 singles player Alfredo Perez, who was participating in the Easter Bowl in California.
The Gables girls will still have Sonja Radosevic and Paulina Bejar representing them individually in states after winning their district title at No. 1 doubles. Radosevic will also play singles individually at states after her district title at the No. 1 singles position.
Girls’ results — Palmetto 4, Coral Gables 1 — No. 1 singles: Sonja Radosevic (CG) d. Cary Milanes (PAL) 6-1, 6-0; No. 2 singles: Emma Petersen (PAL) d. Paulina Bejar (CG) 4-6, 6-4, 6-4; No. 3 singles: Olivia Schuitema (PAL) d. Isabella Blanes (CG) 6-2, 6-0; No. 4 singles: Alex Schlesinger (PAL) d. Alex Acalay (CG) 6-1, 6-1; No. 5 singles: Sophia Dao (PAL) d. Rafa Game (CG) 6-0, 6-0.
Boys’ results — Coral Gables 5, Columbus 0 — No. 1 singles: Mirko Radosevic (CG) d. Bernard Tefel (COL) 1-6, 6-2, 6-2; No. 2 singles: Cristian Gazzolo (CG) d. Thomas McCoy (COL) 6-3, 6-0; No. 3 singles: Sebastian Gazzolo (CG) d. Victor Marotta (COL) 6-2, 6-4; No. 4 singles: Jacobo Nieto (CG) d. Russell McCoy (COL) 6-2, 6-4; No. 5 singles: Federico Mercado (CG) d. Ricardo Lopez (COL) 6-0, 6-2.