One of these days, Sophia Adams and Michelle Adan-Pol will figure out how not to let their guard down at the start of a new doubles set.
Well, maybe next season. Until then, the TERRA Institute duo can just take heart in the fact that they’ve become quite good at playing their way out of such a predicament.
It was good enough Wednesday to claim the overall doubles title to close out the Class 3A state tournament, storming back from the brink of a third set to finish off a 6-3, 7-5 triumph over the Naples tandem of Alyssa Mayo and Sophia Petrella.
“It always happens,” Adams said with a giggle. “We get down and we start coming back. It’s like, ‘What are we doing here?’ We know what we to do, I guess.”
Interjected Adan-Pol: “We’re so used to it by now.”
After taking the opening set with ease, the TERRA tandem was looking at being extended to a third set when Naples broke Adams’ serve to take a 5-3 advantage. That turned out to be the last game the Wolves would concede.
They broke right back on Petrella’s serve to pull within a game, and Adan-Pol squared it by holding serve. TERRA broke again to finally pull in front, before Adams held and Adan-Pol administered the final punctuation with an overhead smash down the middle.
The victory added one more medal to TERRA’s haul from their initial trip to states, which included the runner-up team trophy and Nicole Cinquino winning the No.5 singles.
A major haul also could take place Thursday in the Class 4A and 2A competitions, where all Broward County entrants held the lead in all four divisions after Wednesday’s opening matches.
That includes a perfect start for American Heritage in the 2A boys, where the Patriots won all 12 matches to take a two-point lead over Gainesville Eastside. No other team has more than five points.
“I don’t think you can ever really expect to be perfect,” coach Toby Croke said. “But this group of kids has a lot of focus and they take their craft very seriously. It really didn’t surprise me that they went out and beat everybody today.”
Now the talk among the Patriots is to finish off a perfect 21-point tournament, which would complete a unique double. The girls of sister campus American Heritage-Delray fashioned a perfect score to take the 1A crown on Tuesday.
“They feel like there’s more work to do,” Croke said. “They’re not letting their guard down.”
Cypress Bay was nearly perfect on both sides of the 4A ledger, though the boys’ 11 points only kept them one ahead of Boca Raton’s Spanish River. The Lightning and Sharks will square off in three of the five singles finals.
The Cypress Bay girls got a little more cushion from their 11 points, moving four ahead of Miami Palmetto in their quest for a second consecutive crown.
“We have a little bit of pressure,” coach Marina Stewart said, “but it was almost perfect today. We’ll have to see what happens tomorrow.”
Palmetto, in fact, was the one who kept the Lightning from perfection by winning their No.2 doubles matchup to end the day. Though No.1 singles Emma Peterson was upset in her opening match, the Panthers got three to singles finals.
“It could be better,” coach Kelly Gibson said, “but all things said they pulled some things out. The bottom of the lineup really came through.”
Pine Crest holds a one-point edge over Orlando’s Lake Highland Prep in the Class 2A girls, but took a hit in the doubles when their No.1 team of Kaely Malik and Stephanie Taylor had to default their doubles match when Malik began cramping.
Malik is scheduled to play the No.3 singles final on Thursday, but coach Kasey Hamaway said that will be a gametime decision.
“She’s wanting to play,” Hamaway said. “She’s had this experience before, and she wants to help the team in any way she can. We just need to make the decision in the morning.”
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CLASS 4A STATE BOYS’ TENNIS — Team: Cypress Bay 11, Boca Raton Spanish River 10, Winter Park 8, Miami Beach 3.
CLASS 4A STATE GIRLS’ TENNIS — Team: Cypress Bay 11, Palmetto 7, Boca Raton 5, Orlando Olympia 4, Gainesville Buchholz 4, Clearwater Countryside 4.
CLASS 2A STATE BOYS’ TENNIS — Team (play suspended with 2 matches on court): American Heritage 12, Gainesville Eastside 10, Tampa Jesuit 5, Jacksonville Bolles 4.
CLASS 2A STATE GIRLS’ TENNIS — Team: Pine Crest 10, Orlando Lake Highland Prep 9, Rockledge 6, Jacksonville Stanton 5, Tampa Holy Names 4.