CASSELBERRY -- Sagemont’s Jake Albo was up against Country Day’s Shaun Berman for the second consecutive year, but this time it wasn’t so easy.
Jake Albo’s path to a second consecutive state Class 1A boys’ singles crown was nowhere as easy as the first.
Pushed to a third set by frequent training partner Shaun Berman of Miami Country Day, the Sagemont senior found the stroke that went missing one set earlier, emerging with a 6-0, 1-6, 6-3 triumph Wednesday at Red Bug Lake Park.
“He definitely played a lot better,” said Albo, who dispatched Berman in last year’s final without losing a game. “We’re friends and we know each other’s styles, so it becomes a battle of who puts more balls in the court.”
That edge belonged to Albo in the third set, scoring a break early in the encounter and starting to move Berman around the court. Albo put things away by taking three of the final four games.
“In the first and third sets, he was in control,” said Berman, who like Albo is a student at the Bill Clark Tennis Academy in Cooper City.
Albo’s back-to-back singles crowns drew him even with his doubles total, having won in each of the previous two seasons.
His chance for a third fell one step short when he and teammate Camilo Escobar lost during the team competition.
“It’s cool,” Albo said. “I know if I just play my game and stay with it, I’ll usually come out with a positive result.”
On Tuesday, Sagemont locked up its second team crown in the past three years.
In nearby Altamonte Springs, Cypress Bay stood on the verge of a repeat as Class 4A boys champions after claiming 11 of a possible 12 points on the first day at Sanlando Park.
The Lightning, with the No.1 or No. 2 seed in every division, sent four players to Thursday’s singles finals. Both doubles teams also won their openers.
“I’m very proud of my boys, to say the least,” said coach Vincent Grossi, who admitted to some concern when his team’s first practice in Central Florida didn’t meet his expectations.
“We had a nice meeting and talked about what our agenda was. Then this morning, they got up and their focus went extremely well. … The talent up here [at states] is phenomenal. I was impressed with the way the other guys came at our boys.”
Cypress Bay also led a tight 4A girls’ competition, claiming eight points to end the day one ahead of Tampa Plant and two up on Boca Raton. Dr. Krop and Winter Park were another point behind.
Westminster Academy’s Courtney Meredith fell short in her quest for the Class 1A girls’ singles title. Rasheeda McAdoo of Delray Beach American Heritage claimed her second consecutive crown with a 6-1, 6-1 triumph.
“Rasheeda’s a really tough opponent,” said Meredith, an occasional training partner at the Blackman Tennis Academy in Boca Raton. “She’s a big-time player, who comes up with big-time shots and big times.”
McAdoo, daughter of Heat assistant Bob McAdoo who spearheaded a dominant Heritage performance for the 1A girls’ team title, completed a sweep of hardware by teaming with Mia Horvit for the overall doubles title.
They were 6-1, 6-1 winners over Carrolton’s Alexandra Fields and Lindy Lyons.