LONGWOOD -- Cypress Bay coach Vince Grossi makes it a point to never look at the updated brackets once play begins at the state tennis championships.
“It’s just a superstition thing for me,” he said. “Once I know the draw, I don’t look at the scoreboard until Tuesday afternoon or somebody tells me we clinched.”
Why mess with a good thing, right?
In the past seven seasons, the Lightning boys have won two Class 4A titles, finished second two other times and fourth once. And by Tuesday afternoon, another trophy may be heading back to campus in Weston.
Four Cypress Bay players reached the final of their singles brackets Monday, helping the defending champs to a one-point lead over Coral Gables after the first day of competition at Sanlando Park.
The Lightning collected 10 of a possible 12 points, kept from a possible perfect score when Coral Gables’ Oliver Otero beat Christopher Morin in the opening round of the No. 2 singles.
Coral Gables finished with nine points, reaching three singles finals in its bid to reverse the order from last year’s tournament. The teams will square off in two singles finals, plus the semifinals of both doubles brackets.
“It looks like some tremendous finals,” said Grossi, who got a boost when No. 1 Gianluca Mazza upended top seed Tate Allwardt of Spanish River. “It’s not over until it’s over. Every point is going to be crucial now.”
The Cypress Bay girls also find themselves in perhaps an even tighter battle, with four teams still in the mix heading to the second day.
The Lightning’s eight points Monday left them behind leader Orlando Dr. Phillips, even with Boca Raton and one ahead of defending champ Tampa Plant.
“Our goal is to win everything. We’ll see what happens,” said coach Marina Andreni-Stewart, who watched last year’s competition come down to the final doubles match before the Lightning fell to Plant.
The Lightning placed three players in the singles finals — with two awaiting Boca Raton opponents and the other to face Dr. Phillips. Both doubles teams also remain alive.
Vincent Altino of St. Thomas Aquinas reached the semifinals of the Class 4A individual singles, though he needed three sets to dispatch Greg Shannon of Longwood Lyman. Altino prevailed 10-5 in the tiebreaker, which is used instead of playing a full third set.
Altino missed a chance to sweep the individual titles when he and doubles partner Roberto Guerrero fell in their opening match against Miami Palmetto’s Aleksandr Petrovic and Daniel Trainor.
Down the road in Casselberry, Archbishop McCarthy’s Dmitri Salzmann reached the final of the Class 2A individual singles with a pair of straight-sets victories. He’ll face top seed Dan Stefan of Boca Ciega in Tuesday’s title match.
Cypress Bay 10 points, Coral Gables 9, Winter Park 6, Boca Raton Spanish River 5, Sarasota Riverview 5, Orlando Olympia 2, Port Orange Spruce Creek 1, Vero Beach 0.
Orlando Dr. Phillips 10 points, Cypress Bay 8, Boca Raton 8, Tampa Plant 7, Palmetto 4, Winter Park 1, Port Orange Spruce Creek 0, Vero Beach 0.