Coach Kelly Mulligan has always tried to keep the feel of a unified tennis team among her boys’ and girls’ teams at Gulliver.
Last season, the Raiders brought home boys’ and girls’ state championships in the same year for the first time.
And with nearly their entire rosters returning, a sequel might be in the works.
“All of our players on both sides have come back strong and healthy and wanting to win it again,” Mulligan said. “The way we approach our matches, the boys are always supporting the girls and vice versa and it boosts an overall team spirit every season.”
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Gulliver’s boys will vying for their ninth state title overall, and the girls will try to win their sixth.
Senior Chase Perez-Blanco, an overall state champion in singles and in doubles with fellow senior Baker Newman, will spearhead the effort for the Gulliver boys.
The Raiders will rely on new starters from Nos. 3 through 5, however.
Sophomore Andre Libnic, freshman Laurentiu Schintcic and senior Ben Roque hope to add depth to Gulliver’s lineup.
On the girls’ side, the top spots are among the team’s strongest with senior Olivia Thaler and sophomore Julieta Dalmau returning. Sophomores Alyssa Pujals and Estfania Navarro are also back. Gulliver added freshman Lindy Lyons, a state runner-up in doubles last season who transferred from Carrollton.
“I knew when Julieta first started playing for us and when Olivia came in that this could be the start of potential state championship seasons for the girls,” Mulligan said. “They’ve worked hard and gotten stronger since last season.”
Coral Gables figures to again be among Dade County’s strongest contenders in Class 4A. Senior Mirko Radosevic returns to lead an experienced group that finished second at state last year and could make a similar, if not, better run this season.
Among the top boys’ individuals will be Miami Country Day’s Shaun Berman, a senior who is committed to Washington University in St. Louis and coming off a state individual runner-up finish in Class 1A. His doubles partner Alec Koss, who is headed to Duke, should make them a force in that division as well.
Ransom Everglades figures to be one of the strongest contenders on the girls’ side in Class 1A.
Coming off a state runner-up finish last season, the Raiders return their entire lineup led by seniors Allegra Hanlon and Claudia Mackenzie. Junior Daniela Lopez, who missed last season with an injury returns to bolster the lineup along with senior Lindsey Mendelson and sophomores Heather Boehm and Vivian Fernandez.
Krop lost its top player in Cassie Pough, who signed with Louisville, but returns a young squad that will compete for a spot at state with Palmetto and other Dade contenders.
Senior Danna Gandelman and sophomore Nayia Oden lead the Lightning. Palmetto is led by an experienced group featuring junior Emma Petersen.