How fortunes can change in the span of 20 minutes.
That’s about how long it took for Cypress Bay to lose its grip on a second consecutive boys’ Class 4A tennis title Tuesday, the end coming swiftly on a bang-bang pair of doubles tiebreakers at the hands of new champion Coral Gables.
Likewise, the Cypress Bay girls’ hopes of bringing home their first state title face a stiff challenge this morning when play resumes in two doubles matches suspended by afternoon storms at Sanlando Park.
“I knew we weren’t going to have an easy road,” coach Marina Andreoni-Stewart said. “We knew it was going to be tight and we’d have to work very hard.”
On one hand, the Lightning have the inside track after two singles titles and a semifinal victory by its No. 2 doubles pair Tuesday boosted them to 11 points, one ahead of Boca Raton and Orlando Dr. Phillips.
Its No. 1 duo of Pierina Imparato and Shene Disbergen also remains alive — though for how long was the question after dropping the opening set of their semifinal against Dr. Phillips’ Alizee Michaud and Sarah Baron. Play was halted with the second set at 4-4.
A Dr. Phillips win would draw them even, each with a doubles team in separate finals.
In the No. 2 final, Cypress Bay’s Sibel Can and Michelle Eisenberg took the first set from Miami Palmetto’s Sofia Dao and Stephanie Levine before play was called. Earlier, Can and Eisenberg had won their singles finals.
“I don’t want to put pressure on them,” Andreoni-Stewart said. “I want them to go and play and do the best they possibly can. They’re young girls, so a lot of pressure won’t necessarily make them play good.”
The down-to-the-wire finish, though, resembles what the Lightning endured last year in finishing one point behind Tampa Plant. The two squared off in the final doubles match, with Plant battling to take the title after losing the first set.
That Cypress Bay duo: Imparato and Disbergen, both freshmen at the time.
“It’s almost like the same situation,” said Andreoni-Stewart. “But it really gave them incentive to get back to the finals.”
Cypress Bay’s boys held a one-point edge over Coral Gables after Tuesday’s singles finals, with Carlos Moreno and Michael Plutt winning their brackets. As the draw would have it, the Lightning and Cavaliers faced each other in both sets of semifinals.
Moreno and Plutt took the first set against Gables’ Daniel Spatz and Cristian Gazzolo, but lost steam in the second set as the Cavaliers won three of the last four games. Spatz and Gazzolo also won four of the first five points in the third-set tiebreaker, eventually prevailing 10-5.
As that match ended, Cypress Bay’s No. 1 duo of Gianluca Massa and Christopher Morin was just starting its tiebreaker against Mirko Radosevic and Oliver Otero. That nail-biter reached 6-6 before the Gables duo closed the door by reeling off the final four points.
“Coral Gables is a great team and they showed tremendous heart,” said Lightning coach Vince Grossi, noting that the Cavaliers were able to take advantage of several early unforced errors from Massa and Morin.
“That to me was a big thing, giving them a big jump like that,” Grossi added. “It put us behind the 8-ball and we really had to fight hard to try to overcome that.”